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The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term radiological and functional outcome of surgical treatment for symptomatic, low-grade, adult isthmic spondylolisthesis. Twelve patients underwent a monosegmental fusion for symptomatic spondylolisthesis. Posterior reduction with pedicle screw instrumentation was followed by second-stage anterior interbody fusion with a cage. All patients underwent a decompressive laminectomy. At an average of 2.1 (range 1.4–3.0) years following surgery, all patients completed the Oswestry questionnaire, VAS back pain score and a questionnaire detailing their work status. Radiographs were evaluated for maintenance of reduction and fusion. The patients (nine male, three female; mean age 42, range 22–54 years) had experienced preoperative symptoms for an average of 38 (range 6–96) months. An average preoperative slip of 21% (range 11–36%) was reduced to 7% (range 0–17%). Reduction of slip was maintained at latest follow-up, at which time the average VAS score was 2.8 (range 0–8) and the average Oswestry score was 13 (range 0–32). All patients achieved a successful fusion. There were no postoperative nerve root deficits. All patients stated that they would be prepared to undergo the same procedure again if required. Seventy-five percent returned to their pre-symptom work status. Our findings suggest that posterior reduction and anterior fusion for low-grade adult isthmic spondylolisthesis may yield good functional short-term results. A high fusion rate and maintenance of reduction with a low complication rate may be expected. Further follow-up is necessary to evaluate long-term outcome.