ETS Reversal Information
Dr.Reisfeld does perform the reversal operation. The type of reversal is dependent on the type of surgery initially performed (the cutting of the nerve versus the clamping of it).
Over the last decade, more and more ETS surgeries have been performed. Before about 1990, all of the sypathectomies were done in an open fashion that turned away physicians as well patients from having this procedure done. The endoscopic approach made it easier for patients and surgeons alike to accept the operation for problems such as sweaty hands, facial blushing, and facial sweating. The term hypersympathetic activity is being used to describe this entity as a physiological manifestation of the hyperactive sympathetic system.
Another reason why more ETS procedures have been done over the last decade is due to the recent increase and quality of information available on the internet. The dramatic increase in the number of cases being done also brought with it a certain amount of patients (about 3% to 5%) who are unhappy with the results.
What can be done about those patients who are unhappy with the results of the surgery? In the past, the only method that was done endoscopically was the cutting method. For those cases an attempt was made with some medications but when that failed then the reversal operations with the nerve graft was the only other option. More recently, the clamping method has also been used making the reversal operation easier (simply removing the clips) if needed. Below, both types of reversals that Dr. Reisfeld has performed are reviewed.
Once the area of the previous sympathectomy is freshened up, the intercostal nerve graft or any other nerve graft is sutured or glued to the missing segment and the procedure is finished. The same procedure is performed on the other side of the chest cavity.
Physiological (Time it takes for the nerve itself to resume conduction)
At a meeting in Germany (2003) the results of nerve graft reversal were presented by Dr. Reisfeld and Dr. Telerantra. Both surgeons reported similar results, however there is a long way to go in order to get definite statistical data. In order to get meaningful data we will need to perform many more cases with longer followup.
Similar work for nerve graft reversal is being done by urological - plastic surgeons when they use the sural nerve to repair damage done to the sympathetic chain within the pelvic cavity. Also here the sural nerve graft is used as a tube similar to what is being done in our reversal procedure. The difference is that they do it immediately at the time of the initial operation; also, it's being done in an open fashion with very fine sutures. Their results also are not yet etched in stone and in a recent verbal communication with the leading plastic surgeon who performs these operations the need for more cases and longer followup is emphasized. One clear fact is that the shorter the segment that is cut, the better the chances are for reversibility with the nerve graft. There are too few cases to really say anything more than this at this time.
Picture of Reversal for person who previously had the cutting method done:
With regard to the intercostals nerve graft method please refer to the picture below and try to understand the complex and unique method that can be tried to bridge the segment that was taken off in the original ETS surgery.
Reversal for the clamping method
Dr. Reisfeld wishes to emphasize that the clamping method does not provide for guaranteed complete reversal, he simply believes that the clamping method gives a much greater opportunity for reversal.
As time goes by, more cases will be done and more information will be gathered. Those results and experiences will be posted as soon as they are available. For the time being, about 37 reversal cases have been done on patients who previously had the clamping method and about half of them show improvement. The improvement presents itself with reduction of compensatory sweating, return of sweat to the facial region, and minimal to mild hand sweating. As more time has passed since the introduction of clamp removal to alleviate severe side effects such as compensatory sweating we are getting more and more patients who indeed testify that the clamp removal reduced or eliminated their side effects. In some of those cases it took 2 to 3 years to see the benefits from clamp removal. This fact is in line with the knowledge that nerve growth and recovery of the autonomous nervous system is a very slow process.
Do you have any questions that were not answered here? Would you like to speak with Dr. Reisfeld to answer those questions? To learn more about what we can do for you, contact The Center for Hyperhidrosis by contacting our office.
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