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Transthoracic endoscopic sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis and Raynaud's phenomenon

European Journal of Vascular Surgery
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0950-821x(05)80603-6
  • Medicine


Over an 80 month period, 53 transthoracic endoscopic sympathectomies were performed in 34 patients. The indications for surgery were palmar hyperhidrosis in 20 procedures (38%), palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis in eight procedures (15%), Raynaud's phenomenon in 23 procedures (43%), and combined palmar hyperhidrosis and Raynaud's phenomenon in two procedures (4%). Follow-up data, obtained by a self-assessment postal questionnaire, was available for 47 procedures in 30 patients (91%). Fourteen out of 15 procedures (93%) performed for palmar hyperhidrosis, all eight procedures (100%) for palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis and 14 out of 22 procedures (64%) performed for Raynaud's phenomenon produced an immediate improvement in symptoms. These improvements were sustained in 13 procedures (87%) performed for palmar hyperhidrosis, all procedures performed for palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis (100%) but only 10 procedures (45%) performed for Raynaud's phenomenon at a median follow-up of 16, 34 and 44.5 months respectively. There were no deaths nor postoperative Horner's syndrome in these patients. The only minor complications were two small pneumothoraces. Compensatory sweating was observed after 24 procedures (51%). These results confirm that transthoracic endoscopic sympathectomy is a simple, safe and effective procedure. In patients with hyperhidrosis, the results are excellent and prolonged, in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon, immediate improvement can be achieved but the symptoms may return with time.

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