Acquired spondylolysis and spinopelvic sagittal alignment

  • Farzam Vazifehdan
  • Vasilios G. Karantzoulis
  • Vasilios G. IgoumenouEmail author
Original Article • Spine - Lumbar


Acquired spondylolysis represents an uncommon complication of spine surgery, of an unknown incidence and etiology. We studied patients presenting this rare entity, with the purpose to investigate the incidence, imaging findings, patients’ clinical characteristics, as well as to provide an interpretation of the mechanisms that may lead to this phenomenon. The presented working hypothesis, regarding etiology, suggests that there is a relation between variations in spinopelvic sagittal alignment and acquired spondylolysis. Between January 2010 and January 2015, six patients presented spondylolysis after short-segment transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, at a mean time of 43 months after surgery. The preoperative intactness and postoperative defect of pars interarticularis were documented with computed tomography scans in all patients. Standard radiographical spinopelvic parameters were measured before and after surgery. The optimum values of lumbar lordosis (LL) and pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis modifier (PI-LL mismatch) were calculated as well. The incidence of acquired spondylolysis was 0.95% among patients with short-segment lumbar fusion. Patients presented high-grade PI with a vertically orientated sacral endplate, while LL was found 9° greater and PI-LL mismatch 9° lower than the respective optimum values, indicating a non-harmonized alignment. In conclusion, acquired spondylolysis, though rare, may occur in patients with high-grade PI and sacral slope, and suboptimal spinopelvic sagittal alignment after lumbar spine surgery, thereby highlighting the importance of detailed preoperative planning in spine surgery, along with the study of sagittal balance.


Iatrogenic Acquired Spondylolysis Spinopelvic parameters Malalignment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. No benefits have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject matter of this article.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spine Center Stuttgart, Paulinenhilfe, Diakonie-Klinikum StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.First Department of Orthopaedics, School of MedicineNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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