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Neurosurgery. 2001 Sep;49(3):628-34; discussion 634-6.

A new mode of percutaneous upper thoracic phenol sympathicolysis: report of 50 cases.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Our previous study demonstrated that a high concentration of phenol (75-90%) with minimal volume (0.02 ml) can elicit serious degeneration of ganglion cells of the stellate ganglia in cats. Another previous study in our clinical patients demonstrated that approximately 84 to 90% of the upper thoracic (T2-T3) sympathetic trunks can be found under an endoscope on the ventral side of the T2-T3 rib heads. In this report, we present a new mode of dorsal percutaneous thoracic phenol sympathicolysis (PTPS) for the treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis or axillary bromidrosis.


Fifty patients with palmar hyperhidrosis or axillary bromidrosis were injected with 75% phenol into a total of 98 sides of the T2-T3 or T3-T4 sympathetic trunks and ganglia. The injected volume was 0.6 to 1.2 ml (average, 0.8 ml) for each side. The technique of dorsal percutaneous injection was performed under local anesthesia or local with intravenous general anesthesia and under the guidance of a C-arm fluoroscope.


Forty patients (80%) showed satisfactory results, including cessation of sweating. The success rates of PTPS were 83.7% (41 of 49 patients) on the left side and 91.8% (45 of 49 patients) on the right side. The skin temperature of the thumb increased by 5.3 to 5.4 degrees C approximately 1 hour after the phenol injection in patients with satisfactory results, whereas it increased by only 1.3 to 2.7 degrees C in patients who had unsatisfactory results.


PTPS may be a good alternative to endoscopic sympathectomy to treat palmar hyperhidrosis and axillary bromidrosis. The skin temperature of the thumb is still a useful index to evaluate preliminarily whether PTPS has been successful.

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