The Pros and Cons of Hyperhidrosis Surgery

Medical treatment for hyperhidrosis typically involves careful assessment by a qualified dermatologist. At first the dermatologist may prescribe lotions or powders to try and mitigate the profuse sweating of the palms and/or underarms.

The surgical procedure to treat hyperhidrosis is called “video-assisted thoracic sympathectomy.” General anesthesia is give to patients who undergo this particular procedure. The surgeon would make 2 very minute incisions under the underarms. The incisions made are about 1 cm. (0.4 in) in length. A small quantity of carbon dioxide (referred to as “air”) is pumped into the chest cavity to shift the lung away from the operative area. The surgeon then inserts a fiber-optic camera and instrument into the incisions. The cameras are used to find the sympathetic chain that is primarily responsible for signaling the sweat glands in our body’s upper limbs and face.

It is the 2nd ganglion in the chain that directs perspiration in the palms and face, including facial blushing. The third and fourth ganglions run underarm perspiration. Your surgeon will normally talk about the different surgical choices for you based on the kind of sweating disorder that you are having.

Surgeons use various techniques in surgery to trace, fasten and get rid of the sympathetic ganglion. The procedure is termed sympathectomy. Upon the completion of the procedure, the surgeon takes out the air and seals the opening or incision. The surgery only leaves 2 minute and inconspicuous scars that are hidden in both underarms.

Success Rate and Results

Video-assisted thoracic sympathectomy’s success level ranges from about ninety-eight to a hundred percent. Surgery on Hyperhidrosis of the hands only has a recurrence rate of seven percent. It has been observed that the success rate is also encouraging for hyperhidrosis involving the axilla, however this particular procedure has a high rate of return.

Investigations have shown that around ninety-four percent of patients who undergo this surgery are satisfied with the results and would be willing to go under the knife again if the need arises. Patients normally experience compensatory sweating after surgery. This only implies that the other parts of the body, like the trunk or thighs, may exhibit more perspiration than is commonly excreted. The majority of patients think that compensatory sweating is more acceptable than hyperhidrosis.

The side effect of compensatory sweating is observed to happen more frequently when the surgical procedure corrects profuse underarm sweating. Surgeries done to correct excessive sweating on the palms, or face, and facial blushing tend to have lesser compensatory side effects. Compensatory sweating gradually decrease within the 1st 6 to 12 months. Heavy compensatory sweating happens in more or less seven percent of all patients. Risks for this surgical procedure are minimal. It is wise to discuss everything in detail with your surgeon before having the procedure done.

When complications occur, they are more often than not of minor significance and would only need an extra day or two of hospital stay to deal with. These complications may consist of:

oPneumothorax: a tiny quantity of air may linger in the lungs after the procedure or there could be slight leakage from the lung. This usually reabsorbs on its own and treatment is not needed. It is very rare for a patient to require suction drainage to remove the air.

oHorner’s Syndrome: a somewhat smaller pupil and droopy eyelid are caused by injury to the upper ganglion (called the ganglion stellatum). This however is exceptionally uncommon. Blepharoplasty, a plastic surgery procedure to shorten the upper eyelid is call for to correct a droopy eye.

oBleeding: excessive bleeding is an unusual occurrence. It is however effortlessly controlled by the surgeon. Please discuss the risks involved in the operation in detail with your surgeon.

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