Sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis: should we place the clamps at T2-T3 or T3-T4?

Research paper by Rafael R Reisfeld

Indexed on: 04 Nov '06Published on: 04 Nov '06Published in: Clinical Autonomic Research


Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is routinely used to treat severe hyperhidrosis. It is usually performed at the T2-T3 level of the nerve, but may produce less severe compensatory hidrosis if performed at a lower level. This study evaluates the outcome of 1,274 patients who underwent endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy for plamar, plantar, axillary or facial hyperhidrosis/blushing. Half of the patients were clamped at the T2-T3 level and half were clamped at the T3-T4 level. Postsurgical symptoms and side effects were assessed by interview. All of patients with palmar hyperhidrosis were cured or improved. Patients with plantar and axillary hyperhidrosis were more likely to be improved at T3-T4 level clamping. Patients with facial hyperhidrosis were more likely to be cured at T2-T3 level, but did show improvement at the T3-T4 level. Overall satisfaction was higher in the T3-T4 group. Some degree of mild compensatory sweating occurred in all patients. However, severe compensatory sweating was more common in the T2-T3 group. Around 2% of patients requested a reversal of their surgery. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is a safe and effective treatment for hyperhidrosis. Clamping at the T3-T4 level has a more successful outcome. In particular, it appears to reduce the incidence of severe compensatory hidrosis.