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What is Bertolotti Syndrome?

Bertolotti syndrome is named after the Italian scientist who discovered it in 1917. It is a congenital condition that is associated with back pain, particularly in individuals who are in their twenties and early thirties.

What happens in Bertolotti syndrome?

In this syndrome, the most caudal vertebra fuses with the sacrum or ilium. This results in a disc disease at the level of L4-L5. The form of fusion of the transverse processes of the vertebra could be unilateral or on both sides.
This fusion produces a restricted range of movement, persistent back pain and degenerative disc changes.

 

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:
-Back pain.
-Numbness.
-Tingling sensation in the side of the leg.
-Discomfort during a wide range of movement.

 

Why does Bertolotti syndrome occur?

The exact cause of the onset of Bertolotti syndrome is still unclear. However, there are some theories that researchers believe might be close to the answer.
One of the most accepted theories among these is one that states that the vertebra that is above the transition seems to be more prone to degenerative changes while the disk below seems to be protected. This could be due to the fact that the anterior vertebra is subject to greater torque and hypermobility, which puts more pressure on the anatomical structures.

 

Diagnosis

Patients with suspected Bertolotti syndrome should undergo an MRI for confirmation. The initial diagnosis is made on the basis of a complete medical history and a clinical examination.

 

Treatment

One of the common lines of treatment that follows includes steroid injection to control inflammation and the local anesthetic to help numb the pain near the site of the fusion. Almost all patients will report an immediate decrease in the level of discomfort. However, there is a possibility that the symptoms will return for a period of time.

 

When is surgery necessary?

The other common option is surgical intervention. Here the surgeon may choose to resect one of the abnormal fusion sites and thus return the normal range of motion, or go through a fusion of the transition segment.

There is a debate about the best way to treat the symptoms that arise from Bertolotti syndrome and the treatment options offered to patients may differ widely among different surgeons.

As a general rule, it is always better to give a non-surgical treatment before moving to more invasive plans, especially since no method has been shown to be better than the other.

 

At the London Spine Unit, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat Bertolotti syndrome. Book an appointment to get a checkup.

 

You might also want to read: What is Piriformis Syndrome?

 

What happens in Bertolotti syndrome?

In this syndrome, the most caudal vertebra fuses with the sacrum or ilium. This results in a disc disease at the level of L4-L5. The form of fusion of the transverse processes of the vertebra could be unilateral or on both sides.

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include back pain, numbness, tingling sensation in the side of the leg, and discomfort during a wide range of movement.

 

Why does Bertolotti syndrome occur?

One of the most accepted theories among these is one that states that the vertebra that is above the transition seems to be more prone to degenerative changes while the disk below seems to be protected. This could be due to the fact that the anterior vertebra is subject to greater torque and hypermobility, which puts more pressure on the anatomical structures.

 

Diagnosis

Patients with suspected Bertolotti syndrome should undergo an MRI for confirmation. The initial diagnosis is made on the basis of a complete medical history and a clinical examination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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