Treatment of acute spondylolysis in elite athletes. Literature review and presentation of a new percutaneous grafting technique


Spondylolysis ; treatment ; percutaneous ; grafting ; athletes

Published online: Sep 30 2018

Joris Robberecht , Nick Stevens , Jan Sys

From the Department of Orthopaedic surgery, AZ St-Blasius, Kroonveldlaan 50, 9200 Dendermonde, Belgium


The initial treatment of acute spondylolysis in young elite athletes is conservative.

Excellent clinical results are seen when there is osseous healing of the defect. When there is no osseous healing, repetitive and maximal loading of the lumbar spine often remain painful. Osseous healing is more likely when lesions are diagnosed and treated early. When no signs of healing are present at computed tomography (CT-scan) after 4 months of conservative treatment and when pain persists, percutaneous surgical treatment can be considered in elite athletes.

We present a new percutaneous bone grafting technique for young elite athletes with acute spondylolysis.

Osseous healing was achieved and the patient was able to resume competitive sport activities within 6 months after surgery.

This technique can improve fracture biology without muscle damage and without affecting the normal mobility of the spine, eventually leading to osseous healing.