Stratified analysis of clinical outcomes in thoracoscopic sympathicotomy for hyperhidrosis.

Research paper by King F KF Kwong, Jessica L JL Hobbs, Lindsay B LB Cooper, Whitney W Burrows, Ziv Z Gamliel, Mark J MJ Krasna

Indexed on: 29 Jan '08Published on: 29 Jan '08Published in: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery


The primary goal of this study is to identify clinical variables associated with successful surgical treatment for hyperhidrosis and facial blushing.Six hundred eight thoracoscopic sympathicotomies were performed in 304 patients. Retrospective stratified analysis of patients after thoracoscopic sympathicotomy for hyperhidrosis or facial blushing and having completed follow-up of at least 6 months (n = 232) was performed. Preoperative and postoperative quality-of-life indices (range, 0 to 3) were used to measure impact of surgery, and comparisons were indexed to preoperative symptoms. Postoperative compensatory sweating was analyzed with respect to the level(s) of sympathetic chain division.Thoracoscopic sympathicotomy was performed at level T2 alone in 5% of patients; levels T2 to T3 in 63% of patients; levels T3 to T4 in 3% of patients; levels T2 to T4 in 14% of patients; and more than three levels in 14% of patients. In hyperhidrosis patients, mean preoperative quality-of-life index was 2.0 and postoperative quality-of-life index was 0.4 (p < 0.001). Facial blushers had preoperative and postoperative quality-of-life index of 2.6 and 1.0, respectively. Significant compensatory sweating was seen in 33% patients overall and occurred in 29% of patients with palmar symptoms, 26% of axillary patients, and 42% of facial blushers. Significant compensatory sweating in relation to the level(s) of sympathetic chain division occurred in T2 alone, 45%; T2 to T3, 30%; T3 to T4, 14%; T2 to T4, 38%; and more than three levels, 49%.Significant improvement in quality of life can result from surgery for hyperhidrosis. However, the incidence of postoperative compensatory sweating may be dependent on the level of sympathicotomy performed. The choice of sympathicotomy level(s) should be directed toward reducing the incidence of significant compensatory sweating while simultaneously ensuring relief of primary preoperative symptoms.