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X-Stop unsuccessful. What now?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I've suffered severe pain in one leg for several years. I have a bulging disc and lumbar stenosis L4-L5. Have tried all conventional therapies and some not so conventional trying to alleviate pain. Nothing touched the pain. Neurosurgeon implanted X-Stop six weeks ago yesterday. No change. Now I'm expecting him to advise a laminectomy, and removal of the implant. I don't know if he'll be fusing anything. Will talk with him about details at next appointment. Has anyone had an unsuccessful X-Stop implant? If so, what did you do as follow up? What's your status now? Thanks!
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1

Comments

  • Hi Laura,
    Has your surgeon told you the procedure has failed? I had the same procedure in March and after 8 weeks I was still experiencing symptons. My surgeon told me to be patient as according to him they are finding it takes time for the spine to settle down. At my last appointment he told me it could be another 6 months before I would be free of pain - I hope he is right!

    Clive
  • Hi, Clive. Thanks for your response. My neurosurgeon had warned me prior to the surgery that I wasn't a good candidate for successful X-Stop surgery, as I received no relief from leaning forward prior to the surgery. He still insisted on attempting the much less invasive X-Stop before considering a laminectomy, which we're now looking at. Yes, he agrees it has been unsuccessful. He seemed to expect me to have at least some level of relief when I saw him at the 4-week point. You say you were still experiencing symptoms at 8 weeks. But were you experiencing pain at the same level or worse than before the surgery? I still have the leg pain exactly as it was prior to the surgery. Additionally, I feel like I'm carrying around a small but heavy bowling ball in the small of my back, and find it a terrific effort to stand for more than about 4 minutes. Had an X-ray and implant is where it's supposed to be. Doc has ordered another nerve conduction study, after which it's back to the hospital. Please advise me if you, indeed, didn't feel ANY relief until well after the 8-week point. I would also like to know how you rate your relief now that it's been 6 months. By the way, my doc said best case scenario would be 80% relief of pain. Told me not to expect to be totally free of pain from either procedure. Thanks for your time. Laura T.
  • Apologies for not getting back to you Laura but have been away.
    After the X stop op I had immediate pain relief but after about 6-8 weeks I had the same symptoms as before the op i.e numbness in the legs, pin and needles and lower back muscle spasms. After 12 weeks the symptoms subsided but did not go away completely. I saw my consultant after 16 weeks and he 'assured' me that I should still expect some pain but that it would eventually settle down. I did question the success rate as a paper I read revealed only a 46% success rate but he told me that the X-stop has been modified since that report. He did not tell me that pain releif would be 80% successful - I shall question him about that!
    My current situation is that overall my condition is much improved BUT I still get occasions like today when suddenly I get sciatic pain, numbness and pin and needles for no apparent reason (i.e. I haven't done anything obvious to strain my back). I do not have to resort to pain killers and anti inflammatories so often as I did before the op so overall I am in a better situation.
    I am off travelling for three months soon and this will be a bit of a test to see how the back holds up. If when I return it is still giving me a problem (albeit occasionally) I will see my consultant to ask him why but if your consultant is right about the 80% relief I may have to put up with that and accept it will never be perfect.
    Hope all goes well with you.
  • Clive--again, thanks for responding. I have a bad habit of making assumptions, and when my neurosurgeon made that comment about best case scenario being 80% pain relief, I assumed he meant I'd still have constant pain, but it would be 20% the intensity of what I have now. But maybe he meant best case scenario is pain-free 80% of the time, the other 20% of the time back to the same-old. I will definitely ask this question next time I see him. Meanwhile, you ask your doc and we'll compare notes. I have never had any relief from pain pills, either OTC or narcotic. When I first started having symptoms, I suffered essentially the way you're suffering now. I was pain free most of the time but then every so often I'd have an awful day. It was impossible to make plans that involved walking because I never knew when I'd be having a bad day or a good day. Good luck to you on your trip. Please check in here and update whenever you get the chance. Meanwhile, isn't there anyone else out there who has had the X-Stop and can comment on your experience? Laura
  • Hi Laura,
    I will try and get hold of my Doc before I leave although as a consultant he is hard to pin down. Yes on a bad day I take Tramadol and Naproxen but whether they really help or just moving about helps I am not to sure. Like you the frustrating thing is not being able to plan a walk (even half a mile away) in case it is a bad day and my leg goes numb.
    As for the number of X-stop ops my consultant is performing at least two a week so I would imagine over the past few years thousands have been performed but few people appear to know about it and judging by the people asking about it on this forum the information is not readily available - I even had to explain what it was to my consultants registrar!
    It may be difficult to keep in touch while I am away as we are going to India for three months (annual get away from our winter!) and internet connections are not always reliable or accessible but I will get back to you when I return.
    Please keep in touch and I hope you get some positive comments from your Doc.
    Clive
  • Hi Clive--I look forward to hearing from you when you return. Thought I'd try to catch you before you leave, though, to give you a laugh. You said your consultant's registrar was unfamiliar with the X-Stop. Well, two weeks after the surgery my neurosurgeon sent me for an X-ray, to check to make sure the implant was still in place since I was complaining of additional pain. The woman who took the X-ray was no rookie, she was 45 to 50 years old and has worked at the medical center for many years. She went behind the screen and pushed the button. When she came back out, she walked up to me--still lying on the table--and looked at me as if I had three eyes and said, "what IS that thing in there?" Like you, I had to explain to her what she was seeing. It was very obvious she had never seen one before and never heard of one either. Have a good trip. I know, I know....it's a rough life but somebody's gotta do it! Check in when you return. Happy Trails...
  • Am now two weeks out of second surgery. This time had laminectomy and microdiscectomy. Also had pesky X-Stop implant removed, since it wasn't doing any good and I suspected it was the cause of my new pressure-pain in lower back. Sure 'nuff, getting rid of implant got rid of pain in lower back. But leg pain still the same. Weakness in leg is now a bit worse. Feeling very hopeless. Nowhere else to turn other than to look at phantom pain (it's all in my head.) Am at a loss........ Laura
  • I had the X stop procedure here on the west coast and t has to date been extremely successful.Prior to my procedure 3 or 4 years ago and have not had any problems what so ever. Since my wife and I travel quite a bit car plane and boat it has been a god sent. My problem was lower back with severe pain and loss of motion of my left leg . The day of my surgery we headed for home 500 miles and have not had any recurring problems

    waltpac
  • I had an X stop at L 4/5. It seemed to be working. Then it moved. Doc was going to replace it and better secure it but while I was open he just removed it. Said I had soft bones which a subsequent Dex Scan denied.
    Contemplating the next step. Prior to the X stop another surgeon was suggesting a three level L3/S1 PLIF and ALIF with instrumentation.

    Any idea how long a 3 level fusion takes to recover from?
  • Laura - how are you feeling these days? Last time you posted, you were 2 weeks post surgery. Hope you've healed up and are having significantly less pain.

    Give us an update, please?

    Thanks!

    Jeaux
  • I had x-stops placed between L3/L4 & L4/L5 6 weeks ago in an attempt to reduce the leg pain caused by LSS. I am still having a lot of butt and leg pain when I stand or walk even after one injection to the L4 nerve. I am told that I have a lot of inflamation at the L4 nerve and may need one or even two more injections before the swelling is reduced. All I can do now is try the injections and hope for some relief. Hope this helps. Keep me posted on your future sucess and I will do the same.
  • i had the x-stops at L3-4 and L 4-5 in Nov 07.x-stops arein the right place.but last mri said severe stenioses.
    No relief- can walk a block or two then the day is shot.i completely relate to the not committing to activity.
    now they want to do laminectomy and fusion. i am 49 and life is short & passing by to live in this kind of pain.i am very untrusting after this but desparate for a pain free life. i am sure there are no guarantees with the laminectomy either. Not sure how to trust and find "the surgeon to trust". I also have a huge fear of hospitals and surgeons to trust. How do you know or find "He is the one"????and the laminectomy&fusion are the fix?
  • SEE ABOUVE COMMENT ON 4/6/09. I am 8 weeks since surgery and still having leg pain as before surgery. the injection 2 weeks ago did not but 2 days and the pain returned. see the doctor today for follow up. hope to find something that will help. i will keep posting my results. Laura, hope your next procedure brings relief. keep us posted.
  • Larry - please let me know what your doctor said as I am also 8 weeks post-op and feel as though my x-stop surgery has not been successful. I am having moderate pain in the lower back, hips and groin with occasional attacks of agony (brief). Walking is painful. I refuse to go back to my surgeon as all he tells me is "you'll be fine, don't worry". My device is in my back on an obvious slant and the surgeon informed me that "that's normal". As you can tell he's a man of few words - VERY few words!! Has anyone seen an x-ray film of the device implanted in their back? If so, is it in there straight or on an angle.
  • Lori-
    You and I have been on the same path for 2 yrs. Had X-stops 11/13/07 L3-L5 and while I got alittle relief of low back and right leg pain, my L leg and buttock sciatica is driving me nuts. Four MD's have suggested spinal fusion, but I am so afraid of consequences if outcome is bad. Pain meds are my friend, esp at night when the pain is the worst.
    I would love input from those who have had spinal fusion success, esp after having had spinal stenosis
  • I'm now 3+ months post op (x-stop implanted between L4 and L5) and am in more (though different) pain than I was pre surgery. I'm attempting to get a consultation appointment with another surgeon who also does the x-stop procedure but he is reluctant to see me since I am the patient of another surgeon. I'm back on Vicodin for the pain and will NOT see the surgeon who performed the operation unless I absolutely have to. I hope all of you are finding some relief from your pain ------ this x-stop procedure sure sounded like a small miracle but apparently it's not. Blessings to those that it works for!
  • Need some advice or a coin to toss as I have severe stenosis at L4-5 and spondylolisthesis at the same level plus moderate stenosis at L2-3 AND L3-4. I have been offered Xstop at L4-5 to see if it works (NS says 50/50) or laminectomy at all 3 levels and a fusion at L4-5 (70% chance of full recovery). I have a lot of sciatic pain down the left leg into the foot and back pain: I also have some symptoms of cauda equina, i.e. tingling, burning, numbness in feet and saddle area that come and go on standing more than a few minutes...so surgery necessary sooner than I would like.

    I also am old (73), have heart problems (stents), and have poor health due to years of CFS and therefore a sedentary life style.

    Any experiences or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Despite all this I love life and would like to continue (but not sitting in a puddle) for a few more years.
  • I would ask your surgeon for further information about the use of X-Stop in your case. From the information I was given about three years ago when I thought the X-stop might be a solution to my problems, having spondylolisthesis and cauda equina symptoms are two things that would disqualify someone from being able to have X-Stop.

    I am copying one paragraph from the manufacturer's website: (www.x-stop.com)

    The X-STOP Spacer should not be used if you have:

    An allergy to titanium or titanium alloy
    Spinal anatomy that would prevent placement of the device or cause the device to be unstable in your body
    Cauda equina syndrome, which is a spinal nerve compression that causes groin numbness, bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
    Osteoporosis with fragility fracture
    A current infection

    Even though fusion is a much bigger surgery, you might be ultimately happier with the results. I would also recommend that you get at least another opinion from a different fellowship-trained spinal specialist, either an orthopedic spine surgery or a neurosurgeon. You want to be certain that you are having the right procedure for your issues. And, you don't want to have one surgery and then find out you really needed something else.

    Please post often with your comments and questions.

    xx Gwennie
  • It seems like a long time since I posted here! I returned from India with increased pain and symptoms exactly as they were before the X-stop procedure. Due to inefficient admin staff it has taken me 18 weeks to get an appointment with my consultant. I will see him next week. I try and keep the use of medication down to a minimum but have to resort to diazepan, dihydrocodeine and diclofenac when the pain is severe.
    My gut feeling is that the X-stop has not improved matters and that my consultant will suggest a laminectomy or fusion. I am not sure if the success rate of a laminectomy is any better than the X-stop and the prospect of fusion which will require a long recovery period does not fill me with enthusiasm! Interestingly I saw a doctor in India to get some more effective pain relief and he said they prefer not to do the X-stop procedure as the find it often gives limited relief and they end up performing a fusion on the patients so they tend to go straight for the fusion option. I will get back to this thread when I have seen my consultant to let you know what he recommends.
  • I went to a seminar about the x-stop and then I did a lot of research on it afterward. When I got my second set or new set, I should say of MRI's done, and my pain management doctor was going over them w/me, we discovered that I had S-1 besides the L4-5 and since the S-1 is so low, I was not a candidate for the x-stop. I am also too chicken to have the laminectomy and so I got RF again. I had it done before with little success but this year it worked pretty good. I think most of my pain comes from the bulging disc at L4-5 and the osteoarthritis that is there. The x-stop looks and sounds like it will work for some people. I just have this thing about whether or not our bodies will try to reject a foreign object or whether or not it may just take time for your body to adjust to it.

    I think it may be beneficial to some. Myself, as I said, I'm chicken about the surgery and am continuing to avoid it at all costs and just do the best I can do and whatever I can do from day to day. It will be interesting as time goes by and more and more x-stops are implanted, how it works out for different people with different circumstances. I am for anything that will get us all mobile again as long as it it safe for the individual and works.
  • My consultant has booked me in for another MRI scan as he thinks I may have stenosis at L1 and L2 having reviewed my X rays(my x-stop is at L3). Having spent some time researching for the success rate of the X-stop one paper suggested that it is 92% successful. This success rate was based on how patients feel after having the op and included those patients who were completely pain free to those who experienced a small improvement. The problem is that from the posts here it would seem that only some of the 8% who continue to have problems after the procedure post there results here. It would be good to hear from people who have had significant improvement otherwise this thread would appear to suggest that the X-stop is not the answer to our problems that it was claimed to be.
    I shall ask my consultant for his opinion on the success rates before he advises another X-stop for me.
  • Hey, Clive and all the rest----I've been away a long time and have lots of news, although it may not be of any help to most of you. To review, I spent 12 years with progressive sciatic pain in my left leg, only between my knee and my hip. No back pain. Went to orthopedic. X-rays showed bulging disk and stenosis in L-4 and 5 area. Also, I have osteoarthritis and was told a hip replacement would most likely be in my future, but that was ruled out as the cause of my leg pain problem. The stenosis and/or bulging disk was supposedly causing my pain. Got second opinion. He agreed with first orthopedic. Was sent to neurosurgeon. Tried every conventional and unconventional type of treatment and therapy available prior to his agreement to do surgery. I've never had luck with pain meds because the OTC stuff doesn't touch the pain and the heavy duty stuff makes me nauseous. Personally, I'll take pain over vomiting. Especially considering my pain was only minimal if I stayed seated or lying down. By the time I had the X-Stop implanted last July, my quality of life was terrible. Luckily I work in front of a computer in a home office and I was mostly comfortable sitting. But standing and walking was torture. X-Stop not only didn't eliminate the original pain, I now had additional pain in my lower back from what I guess was the weight (or placement) of the implant. Three months to the day of the implant surgery I had the implant removed and a laminectomy and diskectomy. Again, no improvement. Doc says only other option is maybe phantom pain, all in my head. I wasn't buying it. Decided to go back a step. Had heard great things about another orthopedic so decided I had nothing to lose. Took my old X-rays (four years old) to him and he went ballistic. Said it appeared to him that I was desperate for a hip replacement four years ago. He ordered a new X-ray and when he saw it he said he didn't know how on earth I managed to get through each day. He said he didn't think a hip replacement would eliminate my pain completely, but he estimated 80% relief. Sounded good to me. He got me into the hospital pretty quick and on 3/25 I had a total hip replacement. He hit the nail on the head. I still have some pain, and I still walk with the same limp I had prior to the surgery, but my pain level is way down. I have my life back. I no longer cry when I return home from a grocery shopping trip. Before, I left the house only for that once-a-week grocery trip and trips to the Dr. Now I hop in the car and thoroughly enjoy a good walk through Wal-Mart. Am not walking well enough yet to do the malls with comfort, but I expect to get to that point. If not, though, I'm still not complaining. I can stand in my kitchen and cook a meal again. I am able to do a little housework. I can walk my dog. What a difference this prosthetic hip makes! Odd that two specialists ruled it out and the third one, years later looking at the same X-rays, said the hip was the problem. I am very fortunate. Had about given up on life. Now, I'm a new person. I hope a miracle happens for all of you, too. And believe me, I do consider this a miracle! Good luck!
  • Hi Laura,
    Good to hear from you and that at long last you have had some success through sheer persistence by not accepting what your first doc diagnosed. It is a pity you went through all of that unnecessary surgery but at least you have a positive outcome. Good luck to you.
    I recently had my second MRI scan and I am now waiting (and waiting) to see my consultant and discover what he proposes! I will give him the third degree before I accpet further surgery.
  • Hello, The X stop is just another money maker for doctors. I know of many people who had the procedure. Zero positive. I would look into Non Surgical spinal decompression. Not everyone is a candidate.The treatment works, if you are a candidate. Send me an email if you would like more information. Good luck!
  • That is so wonderful to hear!!! Glad someone finally got to the root of the problem and has helped you.

    Best to you,

    Marianne
  • Being a candidate for X-Stop, I've been reading this very informative forum with great interest.

    When you say "I know of many people who had the procedure. Zero positive." and then go on to suggest "Non Surgical spinal decompression..." with an off-forum offer to supply information, it seems to me that some selling is underway here.

    I'm curious that you suggest that 100 percent of the people you know represent "zero positive" results, I have to ask from where do you know these people and how is it you only failures? Can you explain how your information was gathered?

    Also, isn't spinal decompression therapy a staple of Chiropractic? Are you offering Chiropractic services?

    Just curious.

    ---JP
  • Welcome to Spine Health Joy! Last year when an MRI revealed severe spinal stenosis at sveral levels and very marked spondy at at least two levels, I consulted fist an orthopedic surgeon (OS), then a neurosurgeon (OS). The OS told me a need a three level fusion, the NS offered an X_Stop, and he said it would ease the symptoms but would not eliminate the problem. So I asked him "is then X-Stop a bandaid procedure?" He went, "hmm, not quite." I was confused so I went back to my PCP and told her what these two different specialists suggested and asked what would she do. She said, go with Dr. X, the OS, he is the best. So I did, even though a three-level fusion was a much bigger procedure. My surgery went very well, and the recovery although took some time is now complete. I have no complaints whatsoever. My original symptoms are all gone, and after over a year I am back to my previous activities. I am very happy I did not waist time with the X_Stop and went for the fusion, and got my back fixed. by the way, I am an active 72 years old, and now doing very well.

    Kin
  • I'm glad to hear of your successful procedure, Kin:

    I'm 75 and am not quite ready (if ever) to undergo the procedure you did. I live alone and am active and working with my first Grandchild about to pop 2500 miles away on the other coast. All the OS's I've talked with say the procedure has a 4-6 week recovery and rehab period, followed with limited mobility. When a surgeon says "It'll hurt like hell afterwards..." I translate that into six to ten weeks of major pain and rehab, hurting more that just " like hell."

    Since I'm a writer, on deadlines, I'll need to be home for the year where I can access the internet and my files daily.

    I know a few younger people (in their 20's and 30's who have undergone this surgical (laminectomy and fusion) solution and they all say it was a punishment. At 40+ years older, it doesn’t sound like the right thing for me.

    --JP
  • Had the X STOP procedure highly recommended after a detailed look at MRI's etc. It seemed the least trouble, but no one told me what a massive pain it would be in the recovery period. It took about four days to sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time.

    OK... here's the question. Did anyone experience a "clicking" feeling their back? Is this thing supposed to do that as it operates? Prior pain is substantially gone and the numbness in rear and legs is gone for the first time in years so that part is all good.

    Thanks
  • Just a question but have any of you tried chiropractic or acupuncture? What happened when you did?
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