Hyperhidrosis Now Cured With Minimally Invasive Procedure Which Drastically Reduces Recovery Time For Patients
Originally published Summer 2000

Hyperhidrosis, a condition which causes excessive, unpredictable sweating, is now curable using endoscopic sympathectomy. This minimally invasive procedure offers a dramatically shorter recovery time than traditional thoracic sympathectomy, which requires months of rehabilitation. Endoscopic sympathectomy can be performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can usually resume normal activity in about a week. The procedure has been performed in Charlotte by the neurosurgeons of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates.

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

There are five million sweat glands throughout the body. Two thirds of these glands are actually located in the hands. Sweating is a natural body function controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, and is necessary for the regulation of body temperature. Yet in some people (1% of the population), these nerves are over-stimulated and an excessive amount of sweat is produced. This condition, known as hyperhidrosis, usually starts during adolescence and is lifelong. The profuse sweating of the hands, feet and armpits associated with hyperhidrosis can be episodic or continuous, and may be caused by warm weather, emotional stress, nervousness or occur without any reason.

A Minimally Invasive Solution

Sympathectomy is a surgical procedure in which the nerves that transmit signals to the sweat glands are cut. These nerves that trigger sweating in the hands, face, and feet are located in the chest cavity. In the past, an open chest procedure, which involved an extended recovery, was required to access and cut these nerves. Many patients preferred to just live with their symptoms because of the magnitude of surgery required to treat the condition.

New advances in minimally invasive surgery now permit our neurosurgeons to perform this procedure on an outpatient basis. Small endoscopes similar to those used in arthroscopic knee surgery, are inserted into the chest through three, one-half inch incisions under the armpit. This procedure is termed endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy.

With this process, the neurosurgeon cuts the sympathetic nerves of the T-2 ganglion with magnification and illumination provided by a miniature fiber optic camera. The surgery takes only an hour and most patients return to work and regular physical activity within one week. The endoscopic technique is very safe and is curative in 98% of patients.

For more information about endoscopic sympathectomy, call Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates at 800-344-6716 or
click here.

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