Background. Immediate results of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) for hyperhidrosis are good. Adverse effects are well known but are supposed to decrease with time. We report the long-term results of ETS with regard to efficacy, side effects and patient satisfaction. Methods. From 1993 to 1998, 382 patients suffering from hyperhidrosis of the upper limbs were operated on by means of bilateral ETS. One hundred twenty-five could be reached. There were 91 females and 34 males with a mean age of 28 years. The mean follow-up was 3.8 years (range: 24 to 84 months). Patients answered a detailed questionnaire from an independent observer addressing the following issues: stability of the initial result, outcome of side effects, degree of satisfaction. Results. The global recurrence rate was 8.8%: 6.6% for palmar hyperhidrosis and 65% for axillary hyperhidrosis. Compensatory sweating was observed in 86.4% of the patients. It was considered as minor by 61% of them, as embarrassing by 31.5%, and as disabling by 7.5%. Other reported side effects were: Horner's syndrome in 3 patients (2.4%), healing in 2 of them; chronic rhinitis in 3 (2.4%); gustatory sweating in 9 (7.2%); and hand dryness in 42%. Sixty-five percent of the patients were fully satisfied, 28.7% were globally satisfied, and 6.3% regretted the operation. Ninety-two percent of the patients claimed they would ask for the operation if it were to be redone. Conclusions. This study confirms that results of ETS are good and stable for palmar hyperhidrosis but deteriorate for axillary hyperhidrosis. Compensatory sweating does not improve with time and is the main cause of dissatisfaction. Recommendations drawn from these results are the following: (1) patients suffering from isolated axillary hyperhidrosis should rather be treated by local therapy; (2) patients should be better informed of adverse effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine