Hyperhidrosis — excessive, unexplained sweating of the palms, feet, underarms, head or face — affects an estimated 8 million Americans. Many of those affected suffer in silence unaware that the condition can be treated, even cured. There are many treatment options available and for some patients, surgery offers a cure for this devastating condition.
The surgery is called a thoracascopic sympathectomy or an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy or ETS. This operation interrupts the sympathetic chain, which is the main nerve that carries the impulse to sweat from the brain to the sweat glands. The sympathetic chain starts in the neck and goes down to the belly along the back of the chest wall. The surgery removes specific ganglia — certain portions of the chain — that control the part of the patient’s body affected by hyperhidrosis
For people with palmar hyperhidrosis — where the palms sweat excessively — there’s a 95 percent or higher success rate with the ETS. Patients’ palms are dry by the time they leave the operating room. Recommendations for hyperhidrosis affecting the feet, underarms, head and face vary and our multidisciplinary team is happy to help patients understand and evaluate all their treatment options.
Author: Joan Cotter Pike
Date: Nov. 30, 2006