There are many postings here about the X-STOP. Some have good results with this form of product but most people who post here have varying results and problems.
FIRSTLY, THE BRIEF FACTS-
The X-STOP is an Interspinous Process Decompression (IPD[R]) Systema and consists of a titanium alloy implant that was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in November 2005 as the first and only implant at that time, that offered non-fusion treatment to improve symptom severity and physical function for SOME patients with Lower Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. The X-STOP provided an interim alternative procedure to certain Lower Lumbar Spinal Stenosis sufferers, before the consideration of surgery.
Inserted through a small incision, the X STOP is placed between two bones called spinous processes of the symptomatic vertebra in the low back. The X STOP is designed to limit extension of the lumbar spine, and keep open the canal in the lower spine that carries nerves to the legs, thereby relieving symptoms of LSS.The X-STOP can be surgically implanted in a minimally invasive procedure that is typically performed with local anesthesia in less than an hour. As it is not fixed to any bony structures, the X STOP procedure does not result in fusion and is completely reversible without compromising any therapeutic alternatives, including laminectomy
LSS- lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a degenerative narrowing of the spinal canal, nerve root canals and/or intervertebral foramina caused by bone and/or ligament hypertrophy in local, segmental or generalized regions. Alternative treatments include, medical management, epidural steroid injections and decompression laminectomy with or without fusion.
In theory the X-Stop is an excellent invention, provided that it is used in patients that are really good candidates for this procedure. Good candidates can only be identified by the doctor providing the opportunity of this procedure.
My personal experience in this respect has been very interesting. I suffered for some years with chronic radicular pain through my buttocks and into both my legs from Spinal Stenosis. I went through the same steps as many of you here taking pain killers and then epidural shots and then Caudal epidural shots. I reached a point where I was considering surgery and I heard about the X-STOP. WOW! I thought, this is it, no invasive surgery, a local anesthetic with an implant and I can go home a new man.
I did lots of research before going any further and I eventually went to several Ortho and Neuro Surgeons who professed to be experts in the implantation of the X-STOP.
Some of them told me that I was a good candidate and some even said that I could have two implanted at different levels. I however decided to do more research as I was not happy with the actual number of X-STOP procedures that any of them had really carried out.
Eventually I found a fellowship trained Ortho Surgeon who gave me the real truth. He said that he had done over 100 X-STOP procedures and in his judgement, I was most certainly not a candidate for even one X-STOP let alone two. That made me think extremely carefully about the professionalism of those that I had seen earlier and this opinion also brought their judgement and their priorities into question too.
I subsequently went to a second Fellowship Trained Ortho Surgeon and he also said that I waas not a candidate for X-STOP.
MY PERSONAL CONCLUSIONS.
From what I can gather personally, X-STOP is an excellent solution those who are a proper bona fide suitable candidate for the procedure. However the operative words are "SUITABLE CANDIDATE" and that has to be determined by the individual doctor. I fully appreciate that if the X-STOP fails it is removable and will leave the implanted site unscathed and exactly as it was prior to the implant being placed and I also understand that even in suitable candidates there may be failures. However, the doctors judgement on whether the candidate is really suitable to even try this form of procedure is paramount. The sad part is that most people totally rely on the judgement of one doctor and most of us are in so much pain that we will do anything to get out of it and if it means that we have the opportunity of avoiding invasive surgery we will go for it hook line and sinker if we are told that it can work.
My personal dilemma is how many doctors suggest this procedure for the wrong reasons, knowing that they will be paid to put the implant in and then paid again to remove it in favor of either decompression surgery or fusion. Clearly, morals and ethics come into question here and as usual malpractice or just bad judgement is always an extremely difficult thing to prove afterwards.
SO THEREFORE as I have said many times before, we have to be responsible for ourselves and as we only get one body and one spine we cannot make decisions to traet them in a flippant manner. Pain is a difficult thing to bear as we here all know and we are all very vulnerable because of it, but we do all need to be so very careful about the decisions that we make and we also need to do the research before we commit to being treated.
The only consolation to those who have had X-Stop implants that did not work is that they can have them removed as quickly as they were inserted without any bone damage.
I sincerely hope that this "in good faith: post is as informative as it is meant to be.