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Ann Chir Gynaecol. 2001;90(3):177-84.

Endoscopic sympathetic block--new treatment of choice for social phobia?

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Tampere City Mental Health Care Centre, Finland.


Social phobia is a neglected disorder, which can cause very debilitating consequences in patients' lives. The patients tend to isolate and suffer from comorbid disorders such as depression, other anxiety disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse. Traditional treatment methods such as medication and psychotherapy do not help everyone. A prospective, uncontrolled follow-up study with 169 social phobic patients was performed by uni- or bilateral endoscopic sympathetic block of the upper thoracic ganglia. The method is reversible by taking the compression block away, if needed. The selected patients had conservative treatment resistant social phobia according to DSM IV. Structured interview, Davidson's modified brief social phobia scale, and Liebowitz Quality of life questionnaire were used both pre- and postoperatively to assess the value of the treatment. All aspects of social phobia, both somatic and psychological, were highly significantly improved. Reflex sweating as the only remarkable side effect was less than in most series for other indications with sympathetic ablative surgery elsewhere. Endoscopic sympathetic block is recommended as the treatment of choice in severe, conservative therapy resistant social phobia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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