Degenerative spondylolisthesis is a condition in which breakdown of the cartilage between the vertebrae of the spine causes one vertebra to slip over the one below. This can result in narrowing of the spinal column -- spinal stenosis, which places pressure on the nerves, resulting in pain in the buttocks or legs while walking or standing.
This study tracked 370 patients who received a type of surgery known as decompressive laminectomy and 235 who received non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, steroid injections and analgesic medications. These patients were tracked over the course of two years. This trial showed a significant advantage to surgery at 3 months, which decreased only slightly over the course of the two years in terms of mobility and the return of pain.