A retrolisthesis is a posterior displacement of one vertebral body with respect to the adjacent vertebrae to a degree less than a luxation (dislocation). Clinically speaking, retrolisthesis is the opposite of spondylolisthesis (anterior displacement of one vertebral body on the subjacent vertebral body). In the past this clinical pathology was also called a “retrospondylolisthesis”. (2) Retrolistheses are most easily diagnosed on lateral x-ray views of the spine. Views, where care has been taken to expose for a true lateral view without any rotation, offer the best diagnostic quality.
Retrolistheses are found most prominently in the cervical spine and lumbar region but can also be seen in the thoracic area.
Complete Retrolisthesis – The body of one vertebra is posterior to both the vertebral body of the segment of the spine above as well as below.
Stairstepped Retrolisthesis – The body of one vertebra is posterior to the body of the spinal segment above, but is anterior to the one below.
Partial Retrolisthesis – The body of one vertebra is posterior to the body of the spinal segment either above or below.
Grade 2 Partial retrolisthesis of L5 on S1 8 mm