Spondylolisthesis of the thoracic spine. Case report.J Neurosurg Spine 2006; 4(5):415-8JN
The thoracic spine is stabilized in the anteroposterior direction by the rib cage and the facet joints. Spondylolisthesis of the thoracic spine is less common than that of the lumbar spine. The authors describe a rare case of thoracic spondylolisthesis in which the patient suffered back pain and myelopathy. The patient was a 44-year-old woman. Plain radiography revealed Grade I T11-12 spondylolisthesis. The pedicle-facet joint angle at T-11 was 118 degrees, greater than that of T-10 or T-12. Postmyelography computerized tomography scanning revealed posterior compression of the dural sac as well as enlargement of and degenerative changes in the facet joint at T-11. Magnetic resonance imaging showed anterior and posterior compression of the spinal cord at the level of the spondylolisthesis. To achieve posterior T10-12 decompression, the surgeons performed a laminectomy and posterolateral fusion in which a pedicle screw fixation system was placed. The patient's back pain disappeared immediately after the operation. The authors conclude that the enlargement of the pedicle-facet joint angle and the degenerative changes of the facet joint caused the thoracolumbar spondylolisthesis.