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What is Decompression Pars Defect Treatment?


This minimally invasive stabilization procedure is used to treat the symptoms caused by a pars interarticularis defect. A pars defect is the result of a hairline fracture in the pars interarticularis, which is a tiny portion of the vertebrae that connects the upper and lower facet joints. These fractures are most common in the fifth vertebrae of the lower spine and can occur on one or both sides of the bone. The pars interarticularis is the weakest part of your vertebrae, which makes it vulnerable to injury from overuse. Pars interarticularis defect tends to be more common to athletes in high-impact sports.

Pars interarticularis defect can cause a displacement of the vertebrae known as spondylolisthesis. Another possible complication of a pars defect is the compression of the spinal cord or a nerve, which can be painful and cause numbness and weakness in the legs. For some, these symptoms get better after a few weeks of conservative treatment and others may require surgery to remove pressure off the nerve and stabilize the spine.

Back Pain Centers of America (BPC) offers several minimally invasive back pain treatment options for different spine conditions. If you have chronic back pain that hasn’t responded to other treatment, call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to learn more about how our board-certified spine specialists can help you.

Decompression Pars Defect could help to regain an active lifestyle


There are several benefits to minimally invasive pars interarticularis defect treatment over traditional open spine fusion. Unlike open surgery that requires a large incision that includes the muscles, minimally invasive spine surgery is performed through a tiny incision and between the muscles. This allows a patient to recover much faster and with minimal scarring and blood loss. Relief of symptoms is often immediate.

Symptoms/Conditions Treated

The decompression pars defect procedure is used to treat a pars interarticularis defect and spondylolisthesis by stabilizing the spine and removing pressure off the nerve that is causing your symptoms. The procedure can relieve the following symptoms:

  • Localized pain
  • Pain that radiates to the legs and feet
  • Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet
  • Weakness in the legs


Preparation instructions will be provided before your pars interarticularis procedure. Part of your preparation will require that you do the following:

  • Avoid smoking before and after the procedure – Tobacco slows healing and has been linked to various spine conditions.
  • Stop certain medications and supplements – Some medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding. You will be told which to stop taking and for how long.
  • Fast for 6-12 hours – You will be told exactly when to stop eating and drinking before your procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home – You won’t be able to drive after surgery, so arrange for a ride home.


Decompression pars defect is performed using special imaging that allows the surgeon to locate the pars interarticularis fracture and impact nerve. A very small incision measuring approximately 1-inch is made over the vertebrae, and thin tubes are inserted so the surgeon can access the spine. The surgeon then removes the tiny piece of bone that is pressing on the nerve, and a stabilization device is then inserted to stabilize your spine.

Once complete, you will be moved to the recovery room and monitored for a few hours before being released.


Most patients feel immediate relief of symptoms following minimally invasive decompression. Some pain at the incision site is to be expected and can be managed with pain medication. Applying ice to the area can also help relieve pain.

You will be prescribed physical therapy to help with your rehabilitation. This will help you regain your range of motion and get you back to your activities sooner. Your doctor will tell you exactly when you can return to work and other activities. Most patients make a full recovery within 6-8 weeks but can return to work much sooner, depending on the occupation.

You don’t need to live with chronic pain. Let BPC match you with a board-certified specialist that uses innovative minimally invasive procedures to help you get back to your active life sooner. Call us today at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to take the next step on the road to recovery.

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