Julio Urrutia, Jorge Cuellar, Tomas Zamora

January 2016, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 590 - 595 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-014-3480-y

First Online: 29 July 2014


The prevalence of spondylolysis reported from radiograph-based studies has been questioned in recent computed tomography (CT)-based studies in adults; however, no new data are available in pediatric patients. Spina bifida occulta (SBO), which has been associated to spondylolysis, may be increasing its prevalence, according to recent studies in adults in the last decades, but without new data in pediatric patients. We aimed to determine the prevalence of spondylolysis and SBO in pediatric patients using abdomen and pelvis CT as a screening tool.


We studied 228 patients 4–15 years old (107 males), who were evaluated with abdomen and pelvis CT scans for reasons not related to the spine. The entire lumbo-sacral spine was evaluated to detect the presence of spondylolysis and SBO. We compared the prevalence of spondylolysis in patients with and without SBO. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the effect of age and sex as independent predictors of spondylolysis and SBO.


The prevalence of spondylolysis was 3.5 % (1.1–5.9 %); 2/8 patients presented with olisthesis, both with grade I slip. The prevalence of SBO was 41.2 % (34.8–59.2 %) (94 patients). Spondylolysis was not more frequent in patients with SBO than in patients without SBO. Male sex and decreasing age independently predicted the presence of SBO, but not of spondylolysis.


We observed a 3.5 % prevalence of spondylolysis and a 41.2 % prevalence of SBO. SBO was significantly more frequent in males and younger patients.

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