Lenox Hill Thoracic Surgery
National Leaders in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery
Richard Lazzaro, MD FACS
Byron Patton, MD

Hyperhidrosis - Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

What is Hyperhidrosis?
If the amount you sweat is inconsistent with your physical activity, anxiety level and the weather or if your excess sweating interferes with your participation in social and work situations, you may have a disorder called “hyperhidrosis”.
Our bodies have their own built in air-conditioning system to keep us cool. We call it perspiration or sweating. But when the sweating becomes excessive and uncontrollable, it may be necessary for an individual to visit a doctor who can evaluate the situation and offer a solution. Many treatments are available to provide relief to even the most severe cases.

How do I know I have Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhydrosis has no known cause, but generally is hereditary. It presents in two forms: Primary (excessive wetness of the hands, feet or armpits) or Secondary (spontaneous sweating either all over the body or localized due to another medical condition such as heart disease, substance abuse or menopause). Many people living with hyperhidrosis are never even diagnosed or treated for the problem.

Visiting Your Doctor
If you think you may have hyperhidrosis, the next step is to contact your doctor for an appointment. Prepare yourself to communicate as much as you can about how sweating has impacted your life. Keeping a list of when you noticed you were sweating excessively and detailing what you were doing as well as any triggers or symptoms you observed will make your diagnosis more exact. Your doctor will probably perform a sweat test on you and draw some blood. This will help him or her determine the best treatment for you.

What treatments do we provide?
Medications are used with some success to treat hyperhidrosis. In addition, some patients use hypnotherapists, relaxation techniques and even an FDA-approved treatment called Iontophoresis (or electric charges). Though these methods have shown some promise, their results are usually temporary, require frequent dosages and carry significant side effects.
For a more long-term solution, our physicians recommend a surgical procedure known as

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS). The “sympathetic nerves” run alongside the spine and are responsible for setting off the sweat glands in your skin. An endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is a surgical procedure that cuts off the signal from those nerves, reducing the amount of sweat.
With this procedure, a small incision is made in the chest and our surgeons work on the nerves using tiny instruments and cameras. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathetomy (ETS) is considered a secure and effective procedure and is performed with the da Vinci Robotic system. Most people can go home the same day as the procedure and return to their normal routine within one week.

For more information, contact us.