Reversibility of Sympathectomy for Primary Hyperhidrosis

Thorac Surg Clin. 2016 Nov;26(4):421-426. doi: 10.1016/j.thorsurg.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Aug 4.


Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is an effective treatment of primary hyperhidrosis of the face, upper extremities, and axillae. The major limitation is the side effect of compensatory sweating severe enough that patients request reversal in up to 10% of cases. When ETS is performed by cutting the sympathetic chain, reversal requires nerve grafting. However, for ETS done with clips, reversal is a simple thoracoscopic outpatient procedure of removing the clips. Subsequent reversal of the sympathectomy, ie, nerve regeneration, is successful in many cases. However, follow-up is short. Factors contributing to success rates require further study.

Keywords: Compensatory sweating; Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy; Primary hyperhidrosis; Sympathectomy reversal; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / surgery*
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Postoperative Period
  • Reoperation
  • Sympathectomy / instrumentation
  • Sympathectomy / methods*
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome