Toshinori Sakai, Yuichiro Goda, Fumitake Tezuka, Yoichiro Takata, Kosaku Higashino, Masahiro Sato, Yasuyoshi Mase, Akihiro Nagamachi, Koichi Sairyo
January 2016, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 602 - 606 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-015-4029-4
First Online: 26 May 2015
Lumbar spondylolysis, a stress fracture of the pars interarticularis in the lumbar spine, is often precipitated by trauma, but there may be a congenital predisposition to this condition. There have been few studies on spondylolysis in young children, despite their suitability for studies on congenital defects. The aim of this study was to identify the clinical features of lumbar spondylolysis in elementary school age children in order to elucidate its pathogenesis.
Thirty lumbar spondylolysis patients (23 boys, 7 girls, including a pair of twins; mean age 9.5 years, age range 5–12 years) were studied. Patient data on history of athletic activity, symptoms at first consultation, and radiological findings such as spinal level, stage of the stress fracture, and skeletal age were collected.
Among the 30 patients, 27 (21 boys, 6 girls) had L5 spondylolysis (90.0 %). Only 2 patients had no history of athletic activity at the first consultation. All patients, except for 2 whose diagnosis was incidental, complained of low back pain. In the 27 patients with L5 spondylolysis, 17 (63.0 %) had terminal-stage fracture and 25 (92.6 %) had spina bifida occulta (SBO) involving the S1 lamina. Sixteen of the 27 (59.3 %) had SBO involving the affected lamina (L5) and S1 lamina. In contrast, the 3 patients with L3 or L4 spondylolysis had no evidence of SBO. With respect to skeletal age, 23 of the 27 L5 spondylolysis patients (85.2 %) were in the cartilaginous stage while the remaining 4 patients were in the apophyseal stage.
Lumbar spondylolysis in elementary school age children was commonly a terminal-stage bone defect at L5, which was not necessarily related to history of athletic activity and was sometimes asymptomatic. It was often associated with SBO, indicating a possible congenital predisposition. These findings may provide further insight into the pathogenesis of lumbar spondylolysis.
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