Sweat is an important natural function that helps regulate your body temperature. But if you have hyperhidrosis, you sweat a lot—even when you don’t need to.
Excessive sweating in the hands is called palmar hyperhidrosis, which affects about 3% of the population. Palmar hyperhidrosis can interfere with simple daily activities, including work, school, and sports. It can cause embarrassment and anxiety, as well.
Some patients with palmar hyperhidrosis also have excessive sweating under their arms (axillary hyperhidrosis) and on their feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). Treatments include medication, electrical stimulation and botulinum toxin (Botox) injections, but these are temporary and often have minimal effect. A type of surgery called sympathectomy is a highly effective, permanent treatment.
If the condition is affecting your daily life and other treatments have failed, we may be able to help. Our thoracic surgeons offer sympathectomy to reduce or eliminate hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis Treatment: Why Choose Memorial Healthcare System?
When you come to Memorial for hyperhidrosis treatment, you’ll find:
- Expert team: Our board-certified thoracic surgeons have specialized training and years of experience performing hyperhidrosis surgery.
- Prompt diagnosis and decision-making: We see you quickly and perform a thorough but efficient evaluation so that you can get relief as soon as possible.
- Minimally invasive options: Our surgeons can perform a minimally invasive procedure called sympathectomy. It interrupts the nerve signals that cause excessive sweating.
To fully understand your condition, our team will conduct a physical exam and talk with you about:
- How excessive sweating affects your life
- What parts of the body are involved, such as your hands, armpits, feet, face or groin
- What triggers excess sweat, if anything (for example, stress)
- Whether you have any other symptoms or health conditions
- Your health history, including any medications you’re taking.
If other treatments haven’t helped, such as prescription-strength antiperspirants, botulinum toxin injections and iontophoresis, we recommend considering surgery. Your surgeon will explain the procedure, its potential risks and what you can expect throughout the process.
During sympathectomy, your surgeon cuts part of the sympathetic nerve, which travels along either side of your backbone inside your chest. Interrupting this nerve at several key sites is very effective in eliminating excessive sweating in the hands.
Most people experience “compensatory sweating” after the procedure. This means they notice more perspiration in other parts of the body, usually the lower back and buttocks. This can be troublesome for some people. But for those with true palmar hyperhidrosis, having dry hands is more than worth the nuisance of the compensatory sweating they experience.
Our surgeons are experts in sympathectomy. Expertise with this procedure is essential because if not done properly, complications such as Horner’s syndrome can happen. This condition affects one side of your face and eye. Symptoms include a drooping upper eyelid, pupil smaller than the other eye and little or no sweating on the affected side.
Most people go home a few hours after the procedure. Your surgeon and nursing team will teach you how to care for the incisions and recognize signs of any surgical complications. You should be able to resume all normal activities within a few days.
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