Surgical Option for Hyperhidrosis

Thoracic sympathectomy is the most common -- and most effective -- surgery for hyperhidrosis.

The goal of this surgery is to destroy or remove a portion of the sympathetic nerve. Previously, surgeons would have to make a large incision in the chest or neck. Now, a less invasive method -- called endoscopic thoracic surgery (ETS) -- is used. This surgery usually is performed with instruments that measure almost 1/2 inch in diameter. Surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine now use needlescopic techniques to perform ETS with extremely slim instruments -- measuring only 1/8 inch in diameter.

In ETS, the surgeon makes two small incisions in the patient's armpit in order to insert the instruments that destroy a part of the sympathetic nerve. Our physicians divide the nerve -- rather than clip the nerve -- providing a permanent and more effective solution.

This surgery has a quicker recovery time as well as less scarring than other surgeries for hyperhidrosis. In fact, the incisions are so small that they require no sutures for closure.


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If you have additional questions regarding hyperhidrosis, please call the Section of Thoracic Surgery at (773) 702-3551.