Thoracoscopic sympathectomy is surgery to cut or clamp the sympathetic nerves. The sympathetic 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.
Your chest may be sore where the doctor made the cuts (incisions) and put the surgical tools. This usually gets better after several days. But for up to 2 weeks, you may feel pain in your chest when you take a deep breath. You will probably be able to go back to work or your usual routine after about 1 to 3 weeks.
It is likely that you will have less sweating from your hands right after the surgery.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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 or nurse call line 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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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