Diagnosis & Treatment
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Post-Surgery
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Diagnosis & Treatment

Q: The palms of my hands sweat excessively. What is the medical diagnosis for sweaty palms?
A: The medical diagnosis for sweaty palms is "Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis."

Q: How do you describe Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
A: It is a condition of sweating in the palms of the hands that is in excess of that required for temperature regulation or psychological response.

Q: What causes Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
A: Its cause is unknown.

Q: What medical (non-surgical) treatments are available to treat Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
A: Many patients have tried Drysol (a topical, liquid antiperspirant type product) and iontophoresis (electrical current applied to a solution in which the hands are placed) with minimal success. Some centers are now attempting to treat this condition with Botulinum A Neurotoxin injections (treatment requiring injections of a toxic neurotoxin into the hands every 7 to 12 months).

Q: What is the name of the surgical procedure that is performed to treat Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
A: Bilateral Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathectomy.

Q: Are there any risks involved in having a sympathectomy to treat Essential Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
A: Yes. As with any surgery, there are risks of bleeding and infection.
Additional risks of this procedure include:

  Pneumothorax - A residue of air remaining in the chest with incomplete re-expansion of the lung (<1% occurrence)
Treatment failure - May occur in a patient with lung disease making access to the nerve difficult or impossible. (<1% occurrence)
Horner's Syndrome - The complication that leads to drooping of one or both eyelids. In many cases, this problem goes away over a period of one to three months, however, it can be permanent. (1% occurrence)

Q: Are there any side effects from the surgical procedure?
A: Side effects may include compensatory sweating (new sweating that begins following surgery on other parts of the body such as the thighs, back, abdomen or face). It is usually mild to moderate and is well tolerated. It often has a tendency to decrease within the first 6 to 12 months following surgery. There is no treatment for compensatory sweating.

Q: Will this surgery also stop the sweating under my arms and on the soles of my feet?
A: This surgery is for the treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis only. In many cases, patients note that they experience a decreased and axillary sweating on their feet and under their arms following this surgery. However, this surgery is performed to stop sweating on the hands and armpits; improvement in symptoms in other parts of the body is considered a bonus.

Q: Is this surgery reversible?
A: No.

Q: What type of surgeon performs the sympathectomy?
A: At Roosevelt Medical Center, a team of 2 surgeons performs the procedure.

Q: What should I do in the event I have additional questions?
A: Call the office to arrange for a consultation appointment with the surgeon. Your surgeon will discuss the risks, side effects and details of the surgery with you at an office consultation prior to surgery. Click here to obtain names, addresses and phone numbers of the surgeons who surgically treat essential palmar hyperhidrosis.

Q: Are there any contraindications for this surgery?
A: YES. Patients with the following conditions should not have a sympathectomy:

  Severe cardio-circulatory or pulmonary insufficiency
Severe pleural (lung) diseases (TB, pleuritis, emphysema)
Untreated hyperthyroidism

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