What is X-Stop?
Lumbar spinal stenosis – a condition caused by the narrowing, or stenosis, of the lower spine – is a common back problem that can result in leg and back pain and restricted mobility. The lower spine, by the way, is referred to as the “lumbar” region – hence the name of this condition. If a comprehensive nonoperative treatment regimen consisting of physical therapy, epidural injections, and medication fails to alleviate the painful symptoms, a lumbar laminectomy, which is a more invasive surgical procedure, is typically performed. Today, however, there’s a newer effective and minimally invasive treatment for people with lumbar spinal stenosis. The procedure is referred to as X-Stop, which is also the name of the titanium implant used in the procedure. Originally called the X-Plant before FDA approval, the X-Stop is one device in a class of implants that are part of the larger category of “Interspinous Process Decompression Systems” that are available for use. This implant was approved for use by the FDA in 2005. Our board certified orthopedic spine surgeons here at New Jersey Spine Specialists have performed many X-Stop procedures, and many patients have been very pleased with the results. We have found that some patients find the name of the procedure and device somewhat confusing. Because of the “X” within the name, some patients think that it is an experimental treatment, or that it’s dangerous. So let us explain what the X-Stop procedure actually is.
X-Stop is a minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure that can often relieve pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. The X-Stop titanium implant is inserted into the spine through a small incision made between two spinal “processes” of vertebrae affected by stenosis. Spinous processes are the protrusions of the individual vertebra you can see and feel along the back. The X-Stop device distracts two vertebral segments and relieves the pressure on the nerve roots caused by the stenosis, which often relieves leg and back pain. The X-Stop is just one of many recent advances in spinal surgery. If you have a back condition that’s causing pain or is affecting your mobility, be certain to learn about all the available treatment options that are available to you – including minimally invasive back surgery. And always carefully check the credentials of the physician providing your treatment, and of those associated with the facility involved in your care. There’s more to learn about the X-Stop story, which is really a first generation procedure that already has evolved significantly, and we’ll revisit this topic in our next blog.