Cervical Spondylolisthesis is a condition involving a vertebra in the spinal column that is not properly aligned with its neighbor.

This allows it to slip around with movement, thus causing pressure on nerve roots and on the spinal cord itself. This condition can lead to neck pain as well as other symptoms.


Dr.Wascher and Spondylolisthesis

(Includes ACDs and corpectomies)






Spondylolisthesis is most commonly detected in the lumbar region or lower back

because that is the area which bears the greatest amount of stress. It is less common in the cervical or neck region. When it occurs, it is usually secondary to a neck injury, arthritis, infection, or degeneration of the cervical spine due to aging.

Some people with spondylolisthesis have a congenital defect in their cervical spine called spina bifida occulta. This is a condition where the vertebrae in the spinal column do not close completely, leaving small gaps in the bones. It is possible to have this congenital defect and not be aware of it.



Cervical spondylolisthesis characteristically causes neck pain and stiffness that radiates into the shoulders. If the slippage of the vertebra puts pressure on a nerve root exiting the spine or the spinal cord, it can cause numbness and tingling in the arms and hands as well as more serious symptoms. In severe cases, cervical spondylolisthesis can cause weakness, difficulty walking, or bowel/bladder incontinence.


Cervical spine X-rays and MRIs are usually not adequate for making the diagnosis of cervical spondylolisthesis. These are static imaging techniques that only examine the spine from one position. The best way to look for abnormal slippage of a vertebra is by taking flexion-extension X-rays of the neck. This dynamic X-ray technique captures images of the neck while it is flexed and while it is extended, thus revealing any abnormal movement of the vertebra. A flexion-extension MRI of the cervical spine is another option.


Mild cases of cervical spondylolisthesis may respond to conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and physical therapy. An epidural steroid injection into the space around the spinal cord may be used to treat inflammation and relieve pain. More severe cases may require decompression and fusion to reduce pressure on nerves in the spine and increase spinal stability. Surgery may be required both anteriorly and posteriorly to provide adequate stability.

Tom Wascher M.D. will review your imaging studies free of charge or, if needed, provide you with a second opinion. He has performed over 4,000+ cervical spine surgeries during his career and wants to see that you receive the best treatment possible. He is a competent and caring surgeon who has your best interests in mind.

Testimonials From Our Past Patients

3-Level Anterior Cervical Fusion

Vanessa had years of neck pain leaving her unable to even do her daily work. But with Dr. Wascher’s quick and timely intervention that included multiple viewings of MRIs, muscle and nerve tests, followed by a 3-Level Anterior Cervical Fusion, she is now happy without any neck issues. “I can happily say that by following the recommendations of Dr. Wascher, I am now pain-free,” says Vanessa as she talks about how great Dr. Wascher and his team were to work with.

Posterior laminectomy with fusion

When Nanette experienced deep pain in her shoulder, she got tests performed only to discover that she in fact had issues with her neck instead. After a few MRIs and scans, she contacted Dr. Wascher, who told her that she has bone spurs going into the spinal cord. Within a span of 3 weeks, she was able to go through surgery and get on the road to recovery. “I cannot say enough about Dr. Wascher’s expertise and empathy”, says Nanette as she joins an ever-growing community of people who, through Dr. Wascher and his team, have found happiness again.

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