Pros and Cons of Treating Excessive Sweating with Sympathectomy

Sympathectomy is a surgery that may be employed to treat hyperhydrosis, or excessive sweating. This procedure can be an effective way to reduce excessive sweating; however, the surgery carries some risks and possible complications which need to be considered.

Pros of Sympathectomy

Some of the pros of the sympathectomy include the fact that this procedure has a 9 in 10 success rate in reducing excessive sweating. The sympathectomy surgery is a permanent solution, the surgery causes minimal scarring and the patient can return to his normal activities within 1 week. In addition, solving this problem can be an ego boost, as excessive sweating can have damaging effects on the self esteem of the patient.

1. Reducing Excessive Sweating

Sympathectomy is a surgery that will sever the sympathetic nerve, which controls the sweat glands. Excessive sweat can be present in the feet, underarms, face or palms, where the concentration of sweat glands is higher. If the surgery is successful (the procedure has an over 90% success rate), the patient will sweat less.

2. Minimal Scarring

Sympathectomy can be performed in multiple ways. Opting for a less invasive surgery (endoscopic procedure) will result in no or minimal scarring. The incisions will be made in the rib cage area.

3. Fast Recovery Time

Sympathectomy is a procedure that takes up to 1½ hours. The patient will spend one or two days in the hospital after the surgery and can get back to his regular schedule in less than one week.

4. The Procedure is Permanent

Unlike other treatments that may only bring temporary relief to the excessive sweating or require a daily application, the sympathectomy is a permanent solution. Once the procedure is performed the excessive sweating will not reoccur.

5. Ego Boost

Excessive sweating can be a self esteem spoiler; reducing the sweating can be a major ego boost and can also favor social interactions.

Cons of Sympathectomy

The cons of the sympathectomy procedure include the fact that it has a lot of risks and side effects that may be permanent. There are also other nonsurgical treatments that can be available for people with hydrohydrosis, which don't involve as many side effects and risks. The procedure is also painful, but the pain can be managed with medication.

1. Surgery Risks

Sympathectomy has a few risks that can't be ignored, including infections at the incision sites, blood loss, blood clots and possible embolism that can be fatal. Antibiotics and blood thinners can prevent these problems.

2. Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of the sympathectomy surgery include fainting due to decreased blood pressure, infertility in male patients, air in the chest cavity (pneurothorax), chest or rib pain or compensatory hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating in other areas such as the chest).

In very rare cases, the procedure can cause death, due to low blood pressure. The surgeon will follow up with the patient to ensure the blood pressure is normal.

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