This article summarizes over 20 years of experience (1962 to 1982) with cervical sympathectomy (thoracic dorsal sympathectomy) in 46 patients undergoing 68 sympathectomies. All operations were performed through an anterior supraclavicular approach. Indications for surgery were intractable Raynaud's disease (26 patients), atherosclerotic obliterative arterial disease (five), causalgia (five), posttraumatic sympathetic dystrophy (seven), collagen vascular disorders (eight), hyperhidrosis (12), occupational-related digital thrombosis (four), and thrombosis secondary to intra-arterial injection (one). The incidence of complications and side effects, both temporary and permanent, including Horner's syndrome, is reviewed in detail. Particular reference is made to the various surgical techniques of managing the stellate ganglion; four patients had two-third to three-fourth resection of the stellate ganglion down to and including the T-3 thoracic ganglion, two had preservation of the stellate ganglion and resection of the T-2 through T-4 ganglia, seven had excision of the entire stellate ganglion down to and including the T-4 ganglion, seven had resection of the lower third of the stellate ganglion down to and including the T-4 ganglion, and 48 had removal of the lower half of the stellate ganglion down to and including the T-3 ganglion. The study reviews the literature germane to anatomic considerations and suggests revisions in current texts and atlases. By retrospective analysis of the records and a follow-up questionnaire, which provided an 86% follow-up (average 8.4 years), the paper points to the distinctive clinical characteristics of the different groups within the population undergoing the operation and provides guidelines for patient selection and conclusions on the place for this operation in the management of vascular diseases involving the upper extremity.