Minimally Invasive Sympathectomy for Hyperhidrosis

Clinical Services: Cardiothoracic Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)
Upper East Side
525 East 68th Street, M-404
New York, NY 10065
Mon-Fri 09:00am - 05:00pm
(212) 746-5166

Hyperhidrosis, or over perspiration, is caused by excessive secretion of the sweat glands. This disorder affects a small but significant proportion of young people all over the world. The cause of the sweating is believed to be over stimulation of the sympathetic nerves that supply the offending sweat glands.

Hyperhidrosis is often an uncomfortable or even debilitating condition: patients suffer from social embarrassment at work or school associated with excessive hand, underarm, or facial sweating. Simple tasks such as shaking someone's hands or reading a book can cause embarrassment or anxiety.

Medical therapies can help some patients with hyperhidrosis, but their benefits are temporary.

Expert hyperhidrosis treatment at Weill Cornell Medicine

Thoracic surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center are able to successfully treat hyperhidrosis in a minimally invasive procedure called "endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS)," which permanently relieves the nerve overstimulation that causes hyperhidrosis.

The ETS procedure takes about 15 minutes, and both sides of the body are completed in the operation. Patients are usually able to leave the hospital a few hours later. Most patients return to work and their daily activities within a week.

Our surgeons have improved the quality of lives of many patients suffering from hyperhidrosis. Ordinary social interactions such as hand shaking are no longer embarrassing or anxiety provoking.

Types of hyperhidrosis treated

• Palmar: Palmar (hand) sweating is the most common complaint in patients with hyperhidrosis.

• Plantar: Some patients experience plantar (feet) sweating alone or in addition to palmar hyperhidrosis.

• Axillary: For excessive sweating in the axillae (underarms), ETS may be considered when medical therapies (Drysol, Drionics®, beta-blockers, Botox® injections, and anticholinergic drugs) fail to relieve symptoms.

• Facial Blushing: Some patients have embarrassing blushing of the face and neck during stressful social situations. Patients with facial blushing may benefit from ETS, though there is greater risk of experiencing sweating elsewhere in the body after ETS than there is for patients who undergo ETS for palmar and axillary sweating.

Why choose Weill Cornell Medicine for hyperhidrosis treatment?

Our patients benefit from:

• Over excellent success rate: 95 percent of patients experience immediate and dramatic relief following ETS

• The most advanced techniques in surgical procedures

• Our excellent network of medical professionals, including oncologists, gastroenterologists, and pathologists, working with our thoracic surgeons to ensure patients receive truly comprehensive care

• Treatments tailored specifically to our individual patients