Lifewatch: X-Stop pain relief

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - The "X-Stop" is a tiny, implanted device that can block back pain by freeing pinched nerves.

Dr. Terry Reisman recently took a pain-free walk with his wife - this simple act wasn't possible a few months ago.

"I was walking bent over because that would relieve the pressure on the spine," said Terry.  "I had really bad pains down my buttocks and hips and all the way down both legs to my calves, so I was really uncomfortable."

Terry was an ideal candidate for X-Stop, which is the only FDA approved device for alleviating lumbar stenosis, a common cause of back pain as we age.

"As the bones degenerate, the discs degenerate, the disc space collapses, the opening where the nerves exit as you see here gets smaller," said neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Gonzalez-Arias.  "All that encroaches in the nerves."

The X-Stop spacer is used to decompress the constricted area without cutting bone.  The small device is placed between bones in the back.

"It's moveable, it's not fixated, it's not a fusion," said Dr. Gonzalez-Arias.  "It's meant to only prevent the extension at the level, so if you try to do that you can't bring those bones closer together because you have a stop in between so x-stop extension prevention. So it opens up the canal and the nerves are relieved of the pain very often and the patients' symptoms improve."

Five weeks after surgery, Terry told his surgeon he was feeling 100% better.

"I'm driving a car, back to work at the end of two weeks. Walking. Doing physical rehab," said Terry.

X-Stop candidates are patients with mild to moderate stenosis age 50 and over with good bone density.

Dr. Gonzalez-Arias said picking the right patient is the key to his success rate.  85% of patients experience pain relief.