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X-Stop Or Similar Surgeries

I am a 64 year old retiree now living in Costa Rica. I have had sciatic pain for about six months (brand new to the forums here).

An MRI indicated stenosis caused primarily by ligamentum flavum (yellow ligament) age-related degeneration at L5/S1, with some minor disc compression. So far, the PT - exercises and transdermal electrical stimulation - with occasional hot compresses to the lumbar region - have been offering some relief, except that sciatic pain resulting from sitting seems to be getting worse, particularly on my left side. The sciatica is rarely a problem except after sitting for an extended period.

My neurologist has started me on a "spinal decompression therapy" which involves three sessions per week of spinal traction (at a therapy clinic he owns). I get relief for a few hours, but it comes back pretty soon. Since I started this, the pain from sitting is not getting worse, but it isn't getting any better, either.

The doc is talking about spinal surgery, to increase the size of the hole through which the nerve root emerges. He hasn't said anything about an X-Stop or similar decompressive device insertion, nor has he suggested that I might be a candidate for such.

Given my condition, and the information on this web site, I would appear to be a likely candidate for this or a similar decompressive device, and it is far less invasive than chipping away at my vertebrae, and probably less dangerous. So my question is this - should I bring this up with him? I am a bit concerned that he's wanting to rush into surgery (and collect a juicy surgeon's fee) when there may be safer and less expensive options (I am paying for my treatment out-of-pocket, and the cost is very much an issue) that might offer results as good or better.

What think ye all?


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