What Are The Chances of Recurrence After a Sympathectomy?

As with any surgical procedure, a patient can expect a chance of symptoms recurrence. When endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy or lumbar sympathectomy is performed, the surgeon offers a mechanical solution to a physiological-genetic problem.

This can sometimes lead to a small rate of recurrence. The exact reason for the recurrence is not yet defined. The recurrence rate after the operation is between 1-1.5%. If a recurrence happens after a long period of time (more than 1 year), it is thought to be due to the bodies redirection of the nerve signals through different pathways. If this happens, the patient should discuss the matter with his/her surgeon.

On the other hand, if the recurrence happens within a short time, then a technical mistake during the surgery should be considered as the cause. Again this should be discussed with the surgeon. Sometimes there is a mild return of sweating immediately after the operation.

If it is mild and not as excessive as it was prior to the operation, then no further action should be taken. This type of temporary recurrence is normal and will subside after several days.

Another explanation for a recurrence is the fact that very small fibers belonging to the sympathetic nervous system are branching outside of the area that was clamped or resected. There is no way to identify those small fibers.

These tiny fibers (either in the lumbar or thoracic region) can be very hard to identify due to their minuscule size and the sheer number of them present in the human body.

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