Sympathectomy refers to a medical term by which the sympathetic chain is cut or clamped in order to interfere with its activity. The sympathetic chain is part of the autonomous nervous system. One of its functions is controlling the sweat glands. In patients who have hyperhidrosis, sweat glands are pathologically overactive and hence produce sweat more than the physiological need. For a better definition a typical hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating of the hands, armpits and feet. It is not the whole hand but that part below the wrist and in the feet it is the area is that beyond the ankles. This particular presentation is not appreciated by a lot of healthcare providers as the hallmark of hyperhidrosis.
Sympathectomy was performed for the last 50 to 60 years. In the past, it was performed through major incisions in the back, chest wall, or neck. Presently, with endoscopic equipment, one can perform this operation through small incisions with no trauma to muscles or other structures.
In order to treat hyperhidrosis, the surgeon must deal with an overactive sympathetic chain, which is known to be the reason for hyperhidrosis. The main reason for this overactive sympathetic chain is a genetically determined problem. From different studies gathered around the world it is known that about 2/3 of the patients have some family history for hyperhidrosis. As a matter of fact, the term hypersympathetic activity is much more appropriate to use. In this scenario, the nerve is being divided or clipped at a certain level within the chest cavity. At this time, clamping of the nerve at the T3 and T4 level is being practiced by Dr. Reisfeld as the method of choice.
Thanks to developments in the field of endoscopic surgery (surgery that uses small instruments and cameras to allow surgeons entrance into the body with miniscule incisions) this procedure can be performed with only minor discomfort.
The operation is performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is placed under general anesthesia for about one hour – the length of the surgery. Most patients are able to walk out of the medical center within 2 hours after of the surgery. Regular physical activity and return to work are possible in one week or less.
Please note: You are not eligible for this surgery if you suffer from severe cardio-respiratory illness, pleural disease, or untreated thyroid diseases. Click Here to learn more about the actual surgery.
To learn more about what we can do for you, please contact The Center For Hyperhidrosis. To contact us now, just click here.