The aim of this study was to investigate sagittal alignment and compensatory mechanisms in patients with monosegmental spondylolysis (mono_lysis) and multisegmental spondylolysis (multi_lysis).
A total of 453 adult patients treated for symptomatic low-grade spondylolytic spondylolisthesis were retrospectively studied at a single center. Patients were divided into 2 subgroups, the mono_lysis group and the multi_lysis group, based on the number of spondylolysis segments. A total of 158 asymptomatic healthy volunteers were enrolled in this study as the control group. Radiographic parameters measured on standing sagittal radiographs and the ratios of L4–S1 segmental lordosis (SL) to lumbar lordosis (L4–S1 SL/LL) and pelvic tilt to pelvic incidence (PT/PI) were compared between all experimental groups.
There were 51 patients (11.3%) with a diagnosis of multi_lysis in the spondylolysis group. When compared with the control group, the spondylolysis group exhibited larger PI (p < 0.001), PT (p < 0.001), LL (p < 0.001), and L4–S1 SL (p = 0.025) and a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p < 0.001). When analyzing the specific spondylolysis subgroups, there were no significant differences in PI, but the multi_lysis group had a higher L5 incidence (p = 0.004), PT (p = 0.018), and PT/PI ratio (p = 0.039). The multi_lysis group also had a smaller L4–S1 SL/LL ratio (p = 0.012) and greater sagittal vertical axis (p < 0.001).
A high-PI spinopelvic pattern was involved in the development of spondylolytic spondylolisthesis, and a larger L5 incidence might be associated with the occurrence of consecutive multi_lysis. Unlike patients with mono_lysis, individuals with multi_lysis were characterized by an anterior trunk, insufficiency of L4–S1 SL, and pelvic retroversion.