Insertion of the X-STOP spacer for spinal stenosis pain relief is a fairly straightforward surgical procedure and can be done in an operating room or specialty room at the hospital.
The X-STOP Surgery
- The surgical approach to the spine is from the back with the patient typically lying on his or her 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 lower back is made over the level of the spine diagnosed with lumbar stenosis
- Using x-ray guidance, the X-STOP spacer is inserted between the spinous processes, under the ligament at the very back of the spine and secured in position.
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.
The surgical procedure to insert the X-STOP is short relative to more extensive types of back surgery sometimes recommended for lumbar spinal stenosis, such as a laminectomy or a laminectomy plus fusion and typically ranges from about 30 minutes to one hour.
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The X-STOP procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient may go home the same day as the procedure, although for certain patients many physicians recommend an overnight stay in the hospital. Patients are usually encouraged to get out of bed and walk the same day as the surgery, as walking helps the healing and recovery process.