Thoracoscopic sympathectomy is surgery to cut or clamp the sympathetic
nerves. These nerves run down both sides of the spine. The surgery may be done to help control heavy sweating of the hands. It
also may be used to treat chronic pain or other problems with the sympathetic
nerve system. This surgery may also be called endoscopic thoracic
You will get medicine to make you sleep and
prevent pain during the surgery. The doctor will make two or three cuts (incisions)
in the spaces between your ribs near your armpit. The doctor will put a thin,
lighted tube with a camera on it into your chest through one
of the incisions. This tube is called a scope. It lets your doctor see inside your chest. Then the doctor will guide small
surgical tools through the other incision. The doctor will use these
tools to cut or clamp the nerves. The procedure can then be done on the
other side of the chest.
are usually closed with stitches that will dissolve on their own. You will have small scars that will fade with time.
You will probably
be able to go home the same day as the surgery. You may be able to go back to
work or your usual routine in 1 to 3 weeks.
Most people will have
less sweating from their hands as soon as they wake up from surgery. But
sometimes there can be more sweating from the feet after surgery. This is
called compensatory sweating.
After this surgery, some people
notice that they feel dizzy if they stand up too quickly. This usually gets
better with time.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments,
and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know
your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be
stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed
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Current as of:
February 19, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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