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Surg Endosc. 2010 Aug;24(8):1952-7. doi: 10.1007/s00464-010-0885-5. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy for primary palmar hyperidrosis.

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Department of Minimal Access Surgery, Apollo Hospital, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi 110044, India.



Primary hyperhidrosis is a disorder that is characterized by excessive sweating in disproportion to that required for thermoregulation. In most cases, this is aggravated by emotional factors and by heat. Hyperhidrosis can be seen in the palms of the hands, armpits, soles of the feet and face. The principal characteristic of this disease is the intense discomfort of patients, which affects their social and professional life. Treatment modalities include topical application of aluminum chloride, iontophoresis, anticholinergics, botulinum toxin injection, liposuction, excision of sweat glands, and thoracic sympathectomy.


Between January 1998 and August 2007, a prospective study of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomies for palmar hyperhidrosis was undertaken based on case histories and a prospective pre- and postoperative questionnaire survey. The sample comprised of 322 patients with a mean age of 24 years. At Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, India, bilateral video-assisted thoracoscopic T3 level sympathectomies were performed in all cases.


All patients had immediate cessation of palmar hyperhidrosis. The mean postoperative stay was 1.1 days. A questionnaire was completed based on their response to a telephone conversation or e-mail. A paired t test and Wilcoxon test was performed on these data and it showed significant improvement in quality of life. Compensatory sweating was found to be the most troublesome side effect for all patients. It was seen in 63% of the patients. This is similar to other reports of compensatory sweating; however, the figure decreases to 29% if we disregard the percentage of patients who reported only mild compensatory sweating.


In view of the low morbidity and zero mortality rate of this surgical technique, we recommend it as a method of treatment for palmar hyperhidrosis. Thoracic sympathectomy eliminates palmar hyperhidrosis with minimal recurrence (1% in our series) and produces a high rate of patient satisfaction.

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