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Have grade 1 anterolithesis L5 on S1 and nerve root impingement. Safe for scuba diving course?

Feb 2014
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5931 Questions
My son has grade 1 anterolithesis L5 on S1 secondary to a bilateral pars defect diagnosed in 2008 when he had acute back pain with a viral infection. He has minor disc annulus bulges at L4/L5 and L5/S1 without evidence of canal stenosis or nerve root impingement. He does not have any pain and plays hockey regularly. Should he do a scuba diving course?
Posted Sat, 5 Jan 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Your son is suffering from isthemic spondylolisthesis grade 1. It is a condition in which one of the vertebra (usually L5) becomes misaligned anteriorly (or slips forward) in relation to the vertebra (or sacrum) below. This forward slippage, which can also be called an anterolisthesis, is typically caused by a "problem" with the pars interarticularis - the weakest part of the posterior arch of a vertebra that normally prevents forward slippage.

Isthemic variety is most common form and defect is usually acquired between the ages of 6 and 16 years and that the slip often occurs shortly thereafter. Once the slip has occurred, it rarely continues to progress.

In your son case, the slip is mild, there is no any canal stenosis or nerve root impingement and he is asymptomatic. So do not worry, he can continue to play hockey regularly and he can do scuba diving course.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

Wishing you good health

Dr Saurabh Gupta
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