This is a “minimally invasive” procedure that relieves the pressure off the nerves with the insertion of a metallic device in between the spinous processes of the vertebrae. The insertion of this device distracts the two bones which increases the space between the two vertebrae, thus creating more room for the nerves that are in between the two bones. There is no bone removal in this procedure and thus there is less postoperative pain than a laminectomy. There is also no “fusion” with this procedure. Most patients go home the same day (outpatient surgery) with this procedure; however, I give patients the option of staying in the hospital (usually overnight) depending on their preference. For certain patients, this procedure can be performed without general anesthesia (with the patient in a “twilight” but without a “breathing tube”).
Figure: The MRI on the top demonstrates spinal stenosis at L4-5. This patient failed nonoperative treatment and underwent the X-STOP procedure. The radiograph on the bottom demonstrates the postoperative position of the X-STOP implant. The patient had complete relief of his lower extremity symptoms after the 15 minute X-STOP procedure and went home the following day.