Hyperhidrosis is a condition that impacts about 2.8 percent of the U.S. population. It is characterized by excessive sweating in one or multiple parts of the body, including the hands, feet, underarms, and face. The condition most often presents itself in the hands, causing them to be soaked in sweat and making performing simple tasks difficult. The sweating can be triggered by exercise or stress, but can also worsen at times that are more unpredictable and have no triggers. The causes of the condition are still unknown, but it is thought to be associated with over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response and stress reactions.
When patients are given a hyperhidrosis diagnosis, they might wonder how it is possible to prevent sweaty hands. Treatment options for this condition include medications and injections. Anticholinergic medications are an option, which block the nerve impulses that are causing the problem. Botox® injections are also available for patients who sweat excessively, but the results only last for short periods and their efficacy can weaken over time. All of these solutions only work for a small portion of sufferers, and can have detrimental side effects.
VATS Sympathectomy for Hyperhidrosis
A VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery) sympathectomy is a surgical solution for patients experiencing hyperhidrosis. In this minimally invasive procedure, our surgeons divide the branches of the sympathetic nerve chain to markedly reduce palmar hyperhidrosis, or extreme sweating of the palms. Unlike other treatment options, VATS has a very high success and patient satisfaction rate, with sweaty palms being cured in 98% of cases.
Patients undergoing a VATS sympathectomy report to the hospital on the morning of surgery and typically go home the following day. Full recovery at home is usually achieved within two weeks of the procedure. For patients with a hyperhidrosis diagnosis, this surgery can be life changing.