Robotic Staged Bilateral Selective Postganglionic Sympathectomy for Upper-Extremity Hyperhidrosis

Surg Technol Int. 2020 May 28:36:265-269.


Purpose: The prevalence of compensatory hyperhidrosis (CH) has been reported to be as high as 80% in patients following thoracic sympathectomy for upper-extremity hyperhidrosis. The CH rate is 7.2% with simultaneous bilateral robotic selective dorsal sympathectomy. We reviewed the results in patients who underwent staged bilateral robotic selective dorsal sympathectomy (SBRSS).

Methods: A case series analysis of patients who underwent SBRSS was performed. A surgical robot was used to divide the postganglionic sympathetic fibers and communicating rami to intercostal nerves 2, 3, and 4. The sympathetic chain was left intact. The operation was performed on the dominant side, and the same procedure was then performed on the contralateral side after 4 weeks. The success of the sympathectomy was determined by intraoperative temperature measurement, patient interviews, and the Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale.

Results: There were 47 patients (22 men, 25 women), with a mean age of 22 ± 3 years. Minor complications were seen in 4% of patients. One patient had transient heart block. One patient had transient partial Horner's syndrome. Forty percent of patients had transient CH after the first surgery, and 45% had transient CH after sympathectomy on the contralateral side. There were no deaths. The median hospitalization was 3 days. At a mean follow-up of 28 ± 6 months, 46/47 patients (98%) had sustained relief of hyperhidrosis. In one patient (1/47, 2%), hyperhidrosis recurred on the first operated side. One patient (2%) exhibited sustained CH.

Conclusion: SBRSS is associated with a lower rate of CH than when the procedure is performed bilaterally in a simultaneous fashion. This procedure is associated with the lowest reported rate of CH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Sympathectomy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult