X-stop is a less invasive, motion-preserving procedure for lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition in which the nerves in the low back are compressed from spinal arthritis or degenerative spinal conditions.
The x-stop is a bullet shaped spacer that is literally placed between the bones of the back of the spine. This unloads some of the compressed nerves in different parts of the spine.
This is done usually through a 2-4 cm incision in the middle of the back. A small amount of musculature is separated from the spine to allow access to the spine. This procedure is usually done with the patient laying on their side. Anesthesia is minimal…no tube or general anesthesia is nececessary. Instead twilight sedation through an IV and numbing of the spine are all the anesthesia that is usually required. The procedure takes about 30 min for 1 level and 40 minutes for 2 levels.
The recuperation time is usually one night in the hospital but this depends on the amount of disability prior to the operation.
Patients are up walking the next day but they will experience postoperative soreness for about 1-2 wks.
By about 2-3 weeks a majority of the pain is relieved. The biggest limitation is avoiding extreme forward and backward bending for about 6 wks to allow for the bone to accommodate to the x-stop implant. Usually active sports can be resumed by about 4-6 weeks.
Patients usually follow up with the doctor 10 days to 2 weeks after surgery and again at 6 weeks postoperative. After this point, the follow up is usually in 2-3 months.
Most studies have shown effectiveness for at least two years.
Compared to traditional laminectomy, there is very little bone removed, general anesthesia is not required, and complication rates are extremely low.