X-STOP Surgery Procedure

What is the X-Stop Surgery?

The X-STOP surgery procedure is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to alleviate painful symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis. The device is inserted in the back of the spine to prevent a patient from bending too far backward at the narrowed segment, a position that for patients with spinal stenosis can cause leg pain (sciatica) and/or low back pain.

What is done during the X-STOP Surgery Procedure?

Insertion of the X-STOP spacer in the affected lumbar level is a fairly straightforward procedure and can be done in an operating room or specialty room at the hospital.

The approach to spine is from the back, with the patient typically lying on the side or belly on the operating table Local anesthesia may be used so the patient remains awake, although many surgeons recommend a general anesthetic.

A 2 to 3-inch long incision in the skin of the back is made over the affected segment level.

The X-STOP spacer is inserted between the spinous processes, under the ligament at the very back of the spine, and secured in position. The surgical procedure to insert the X-STOP spacer is short relative to more extensive types of back surgery such as an open laminectomy, and typically ranges from about 30 minutes to one hour. There is minimal removal of bone or soft tissue as part of the procedure, and the implant is not positioned close to nerves or the spinal cord, but rather behind the spinal canal, between the bony spinous process.

Although the X-STOP surgery procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient may go home the day of the procedure, many physicians recommend an overnight stay in the hospital for certain patients. Patients are usually encouraged get out of bed and walk the same day as the surgery.

Disclaimer: Patients contemplating use of the X-STOP spacer are advised to ask their spinal surgeon about risks, and about the complications the surgeon has seen in using the device in his or her practice, including the risk that the surgery may not alleviate the patient’s leg pain.