A Prospective Cohort Study on Quality of Life after Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy for Primary Hyperhidrosis

Clin Ter. 2016 May-Jun;167(3):67-71. doi: 10.7417/CT.2016.1928.


Background: Hyperhidrosis is an excessive sweating disorder affecting quality of life. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), introduced by Kux in 1951, is currently the gold standard surgical treatment for primary hyperhidrosis. 75% of patients with primary hyperhidrosis have seen improvement in quality of life within 30 days after surgery. Compensatory hyperhidrosis and pneumothorax (up to 75%) have been reported in patients after surgery. This study evaluates the functional status, self- esteem, compensatory hyperhidrosis and quality of life among patient with primary hyperhidrosis before and after undergoing ETS.

Method: Fifty (n=50) patients between the ages 18 to 30, with primary hyperhidrosis were recruited. Patients answered the quality of life questionnaire and Rosenberg self-esteem questionnaire prior to surgery and 30 days post surgery on follow up. Any post-operative complications were documented. Telephone interviews were held for patients who were unable to attend the clinics for follow-up.

Results: Forty six patients (92%) had symptomatic relieve within 30 days of surgery. The incidence of compensatory sweating was 78% (39 patients), with 6 patients developing severe hyperhidrosis. Two patients who did not experience symptomatic relieve, developed compensatory hyperhidrosis. Pneumothorax was documented in 8 patients (16%), with 6 patients requiring chest tubes. Significant improvement in quality of life and self-esteem was seen among patients after surgery.

Conclusions: ETS has shown to significantly improve the quality of life and self-esteem of patients with primary hyperhidrosis within 30 days of surgery. However, the rate of compensatory hyperhidrosis still remains high (78%) which requires a long term evaluation.

Keywords: Hyperhyrosis; Quality of life; Thoracoscopic Symphatectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fever
  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sympathectomy / methods*