Throughout the average day, our bodies naturally perspire as a way to regulate heat. In some people, natural perspiration is excessive in the face and hands. This condition is known as hyperhydrosis and is defined as the production of perspiration beyond what is necessary to cool the body.
The process of sweating is controlled by the Sympathetic Nervous System. This involuntary nervous system maintains the five million or so sweat glands throughout the body. In fact, about two-thirds of our body’s sweat glands are located in the hands alone. The answer to the problem of hyperhydrosis lies within these nerves. Doctors have found that “supercharged” nerves cause excessive sweating.
With regard to the cause of hyperhydrosis, a definite answer cannot be given. There seems to be a genetic correlation with hyperhydrosis. In Dr.Reisfeld’s studies, he found that 40% of his patients have some sort of genetic pattern. Another study showed an even higher percentage of genetic origin to this problem. Dr. Reisfeld, and other researchers around the globe, are trying to define the exact cause of the problem and to insure an even better and more precise solution.
Over the past years, several different approaches have been taken to cure this socially and functionally embarrassing problem. Patients have tried herbal medications, lotions, and oral medications to end excessive sweating. None of those methods have proved to be of any lasting value. The surgical approach to this problem started about 60 years ago but, due to the location of the sympathetic nerve chain in the body, surgical procedures at that time necessitated a very invasive surgery. The operation used to be done either through the neck, chest cavity, or through the back. Those invasive methods made it an unpopular operation for patients and the medical community at large. Since the introduction of minimally invasive surgery about 20 years ago, methods were developed to access the sympathetic nerve chain with minimally invasive surgery. Over the last 10 years, the endoscopic approach was finely tuned and enabled the surgeon to perform the operation on an outpatient basis (the patient returns home the same day of the procedure). The operation is very precise and the complication rate is very low. Click here to learn more about the procedure and see our slideshow presentation.
Improvements are constantly being sought. The most recent improvements are the clamping method versus the cutting method as well as a change in the level of the sympathectomy from the classical T2 location (second rib level) to the 3rd and 4th levels. By making these improvements, we hope to further reduce the amount of compensatory sweating, especially with respect to severe cases.
Dr. Reisfeld has authored several studies on the topic of hyperhydrosis in medical journals, reviewed by other experts in the field, and has been interviewed by several TV programs (CBS, FOX, 48 Hours, Life Moments). In addition, Dr. Reisfeld has contributed material in many publications (Newsweek, Heart & Soul). Dr. Reisfeld has exceedingly improved upon the clamping method by creating an even safer and more effective surgical procedure to treat this ailment. Learn more about Doctor Reisfeld’s Hyperhidrosis research.
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 Hyperhydrosis by contacting our office.