Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Orthopaedic Spine


Dr. Thomas Colletti


Chronic lower back pain (CLBP) is one of the most common presenting complaints in medicine and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Oftentimes, the definitive etiology of CLBP in the young patient can be elusive and is often never established. The consequence of not establishing a pain generator for chronic lower back pain is that it results in generic treatment regimens that are often ineffective. This leads to persistent symptoms and potential long-term disability. Establishing a definitive diagnosis increases the likelihood of a successful treatment regimen being initiated. In the young patient with chronic lower back pain, a possible etiology is a symptomatic lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LSTV)-known as Bertolotti’s syndrome. Bertolotti’s syndrome is an often unrecognized and/or overlooked potential etiology of CLBP in the young patient. Once the diagnosis is established, Bertolotti’s syndrome is treatable, potentially reducing long-term disability and its socio-economic sequelae. In this article, we discuss the anatomy, evaluation, diagnosis, classification, and treatment options for Bertolotti’s syndrome.


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