Spinal Stenosis Surgery – The X Stop
The X-Stop Interspinous Spacer is a small FDA-approved device that is implanted in the spine to relieve pain caused by pinched nerves or spinal stenosis. These conditions involve a narrowing of the space between vertebrae, causing friction between bone and tissue in the spine. Patients often experience back pain as well as numbness, tingling and pain throughout the legs and feet.
The X-Stop spacer is a titanium implant approved by the FDA in 2005. An oval-shaped device with two extensions to help secure it, the X-Stop is placed in between the spinous processes of the affected vertebrae in the lumbar (lower back) region. The spinous processes are small projections at the ends of the vertebrae attaching the muscles and ligaments to the bone. By limiting the movement of the spine at the site of the pinched nerve, the X-Stop can help to relieve irritation and pain. It stays in place permanently with no need for fusion, screws, plates or other hardware.
The X-Stop Procedure
The X-Stop spacer is inserted during an outpatient procedure performed through the back under local anesthesia. The entire procedure is usually completed in less than one hour. In most cases, there is no need to remove any bone or tissue from the spine, and patients can usually resume all physical activity after two to six weeks. Physical therapy may be needed after this procedure, but most patients eventually experience effective pain relief while sitting, standing and walking.
Risks of The X-Stop Procedure
As with any surgical procedure, there are rare complications associated with the implantation of the X-Stop spacer. These risks include the possibility that it will fail to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis, it can become dislodged from its position, an allergic reaction can take place to the metals used in the X-Stop and spinal cord injuries could occur as the surgeon enters the spinal area. Your doctor will discuss these potential risks with you prior to surgery.