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X-Stop unsuccessful. What now?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 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!


  • 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!

  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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

  • 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?


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