What is Hyperhidrosis Surgery?

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Hyperhidrosis is a condition of localized or generalized excessive sweating. Commonly affected areas are the armpits, forehead, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. The person with this condition may experience excessive sweating along with blushing. The only permanent remedy to this condition is the Hyperhidrosis surgery which involves the procedure of blocking the nerves sending signals to the sweat glands.

Sweating is the biological response of the body triggered when the body becomes too warm, under strong emotions like fear and anxiety, due to illness, or with exertion. Sweat glands are present under the first layer of the skin; however, there are more sweat glands in areas like palms of the hand, soles or bottom of the feet, armpits, and forehead. Our sympathetic nervous system controls the sweat glands and this is also the one responsible for the flight or fight responses in our body. The sympathetic nervous system tends to become overactive and this causes the excessive sweating in some people.

Excessive sweating often starts during childhood and progressively worsens as the patient goes to the adulthood stage. Approximately 1% of adults all over the world suffer from the Hyperhidrosis condition. A patient who sweats excessively should see a doctor to prevent any other biological causes. Prescription creams and powders may be applied to affected area to control the problem. A patient may also undergo Hyperhidrosis surgery for permanent remedy.

Hyperhidrosis surgery is available in two types: sympathectomy and ganglianectomy. Sympathectomy hyperhidrosis surgery involves the procedure of making a small incision in the armpits and placing a 5 mm or 0.197 inch clip on each nerve bundle to control the problem area. The clips are responsible of blocking the nerve impulses in the sweat glands. The procedure may be reversed so that if the patient experiences serious compensatory sweating that does not stop, the doctor can always remove the clips in order to restore the proper nerve function.

The most widely used hyperhidrosis surgery; Ganglianectomy hyperhidrosis surgery involves a little different procedure. This type involves making a 1 cm or 0.4 inch incision under the armpits and cuts the problematic nerves, which are the 3rd and 4th ganglia. A ganglia is a big bundle of sympathetic nerves. The surgeon can surgically change these ganglia because they can affect the sweat glands located in the armpits as well as the sympathetic nerve chain that controls the sweating and blushing of hand, foot, and face.

After undergoing hyperhidrosis surgery, a patient can experience side effects such as compensatory sweating. This only means that the nervous system sends signals to all the other sweat glands in the body, such as those located in the inner thighs, in order to compensate for those inactive sweat glands. Because of this, these areas will sweat more. According to a certain study, around 5 to 20% of patients who have undergone hyperhidrosis surgery suffered from extreme compensatory sweating. However, in most cases, this side effect disappears with time.

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