3 Surgical Options for Treating Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating can be an embarrassing, uncomfortable medical condition for which the easier "solutions" only provide temporary relief. If you're looking for a permanent solution, you might consider any of the following surgical options:

1. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)

ETS is the most common surgical option for treating excessive sweating in the hands or palms, although it is also commonly used to treat facial flushing or sweating in the facial area. It can be used to treat sweating in other places, although it is largely ineffective for excessive foot sweating.

During ETS, the surgeon will make a small incision under the armpit and insert a camera and tools which will be used to perform the surgery. The surgeon will cut or clamp the sympathetic chain, which is largely responsible for controlling the amount of sweat released from the body, in the nervous system. This chain is located on the upper portion of the rib cage.

ETS is an outpatient surgery that takes about one hour. You must be put under some kind of anesthetic for the procedure. After about 2 hours, if you seem to be recovering normally, you will be free to go. However, be aware that not everyone is a candidate for the procedure, particularly those who have consistent thyroid problems, pleural disease or cardio-respiratory disease.

2. Lumbar Sympathectomy

Lumbar sympathectomy is a surgical option for excessive sweating in the feet. The lumbar sympathectomy is similar to the ETS in that nerves are cut or clamped in order to impede the sweat-producing function. However, unlike ETS, lumbar sympathectomy takes place in a lower region, at the pelvis (lumbar) sympathetic chain.

Lumbar sympathectomy is a procedure for which you will be put under anesthesia. Of the available surgical treatment options, it may require the most recovery time and you should expect to stay one to two nights in the hospital. This is because of the sensitive nerves in the pelvis area.

3. Axillary Suction Curettage

The most effective treatment for excessive sweating in the armpits may be axillary suction curettage. If you have sweating problems in the armpits as well as other areas (such as the hands), axillary suction curettage may help with multiple other problems, but it will not effectively cure the problems altogether.

During axillary suction curettage, both or one of the sweat glands in the armpits will be surgically removed or destroyed. This can be done with scalpel or laser, although the laser option will involve a smaller incision, a cleaner wound and faster recovery time.

Axillary suction curettage is an outpatient procedure performed under anesthesia. You should be able to go home within a few hours after treatment, although rest is recommended for a few days and you should wait a few weeks before using your arms strenuously. Although it may not be as affective as ETS or lumbar sympathectomy for sweating in places other than the armpits, axillary suction curettage is less likely to result in side effects like nerve damage, because it is less invasive.

Surgery isn't the only option for treating excessive sweating, but it is the most effective at achieving an effective long-term solution. If you believe you suffer from hyperhydrosis, discuss your treatment options with your doctor and ask if any of these surgical options are right for you.

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