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World J Surg. 2008 Nov;32(11):2343-56. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9716-4.

The correlation between the method of sympathetic ablation for palmar hyperhidrosis and the occurrence of compensatory hyperhidrosis: a review.

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Department of Surgery B, Ha'emek Hospital, Afula, Israel.



Upper dorsal sympathectomy achieves excellent long-term results in the treatment of primary palmar hyperhidrosis. Compensatory hyperhidrosis (CHH) remains an unexplained sequel of this treatment, attaining in a small percentage of cases disastrous proportions. It has been claimed that lowering the level of sympathectomy (from T2 to T3 and even T4), substituting resection by other means of ablation, and limiting its extend reduce the occurrence of this sequel. This review was designed to evaluate the validity of these claims.


A MEDLINE search was performed for the years 1990--2006 and all publications about thoracoscopic upper dorsal sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis were retrieved.


The search identified 42 techniques of sympathetic ablation. However, pertinent data for the present study were reported for only 23 techniques with multiple publications found only for 10. The only statistically valid results from this review point that T2 resection and R2 transection of the chain (over the second rib) ensue in less CHH than does electrocoagulation of T2. Further comparisons were probably prevented due to the enormous disparity in the reported results, indicating lack of standardization in definitions.


The compiled results published so far in the literature do not support the claims that lowering the level of sympathetic ablation, using a method of ablation other than resection, or restricting the extend of sympathetic ablation for primary palmar hyperhidrosis result in less CHH. In the future, standardization of the methods of retrieving and reporting data are necessary to allow such a comparison of data.

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