Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a medical condition that affects about 1 in every 100 individuals. It can occur in individuals of all age groups. It is usually secondary to an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid problem, menopause, pregnancy, acute infection or as a side effect of some medications and is termed as secondary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating only in specific areas of the body. Thus the treatment is based on the management of the underlying cause of excessive sweating.
In few cases excessive sweating can occur even in the absence of any identifiable underlying cause. Such hyperhidrosis is termed as primary hyperhidrosis. It is caused due to an overactive sympathetic nervous system and is more common in individuals with a family history of hyperhidrosis. It is characterized by excessive sweating in certain areas of the body such as armpits, palms, soles and scalp. Sweating is more common during the day than at night and it usually affects both the sides of the body.
The treatment for primary hyperhidrosis includes topical therapies such as topical corticosteroids, stronger aluminum salts and topical glutaraldehyde or formaldehyde. Iontophoresis and intradermal injections of Botulinum type A Toxin may also be beneficial. Sometimes medications may also be prescribed to provide some relief. All these treatments provide only temporary relief and require subsequent repetition.
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that is performed under general anesthesia through a very small incision under the armpit that provides a permanent cure for primary hyperhidrosis. It involves ablation of the sympathetic nerves in the thoracic ganglia that control the secretions from the sweat glands on the hands and face. Both the sides can be treated at the same time. The patient is discharged the same day of the surgery. It has a high success rate and is relatively safe.
Inspiration for perspiration is an ancillary service of Geelong Vascular Centre. It is exclusively devoted to treatment of excessive sweating and flushing. At our state of the art facility, we provide a comprehensive assessment of your condition. Based on this diagnosis we devise an individualized treatment plan specific to the patient’s needs. We are specialists in single incision endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) that provides a permanent cure for primary hyperhidrosis.