What is a VATS Sympathectomy?
VATS Sympathectomy is a minimally-invasive surgical treatment for the condition known as hyperhidrosis — which causes abnormally heavy sweating in the underarms, palms, face and sometimes the feet.
Deep inside your chest, a structure called the sympathetic nerve chain runs up and down along your spine. A VATS (Video Assisted Thoracoscopy Sympathectomy) Sympathectomy is an out-patient procuedure peformed on the sympathectic nerve so that the signals producing excessive sweat are no longer transmissable to your brain.
After a sympathectomy, the brain can no longer tell your body to sweat, blush or even reaact to the cold as much as it once has. This permanent procedure is used as a last resort if other steps, such as prescription antiperspirants, medicines, or injections for hyperhidrosis have proven ineffective.
The Morrison Clinic™ posssess the expertise and training to effectively perform a VATS Sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis.
How is a VATS Sympathectomy performed?
Patients are anesthetized prior to surgery, thereby not feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Dr. Morrison then makes up to three small incisions on one side of your chest below your underarm.
Next, your lung will be safely and temporarily collapsed to allow Dr. Morrison to reach the nerve chain along your spine.
Then a small video camera is inserted — along with surgical tools — to view and maneuver the nerve chain.
Next, the surgeon will cut or clamp the nerve chain at the right level, depending on your exact symptoms.
Upon completion, our team will then re-expand the previously collapsed lung, remove the camera and instruments, and sew shut every incision. VATS sympathectomy procedures require roughly one hour from start-to-finish.
Am I a Candidate for a VATS Sympathectomy to Treat Hyperhidrosis?
Like most surgical procedures, a VATS sympathectomy is viewed as a last result. It is recommended only after topical treatments and other medications have proven to provide short-term, or otherwise ineffective, relief. Often hyperhidrosis patients facing this scenario elect to have surgery to eliminate their symptoms and regain their quality of life.
Schedule an e-consult here to learn more about your candidacy for this hyperhidrosis treatment procedure.
What to Expect from a VATS Sympathectomy Procedure
Before the procedure begins, you will be sedated with anesthesia. During the sympathectomy, Dr. Morrison cuts or clamps this nerve chain after making several finger-nail-size incisions to locate it. This prevents nerve signals from passing through it, and ultimately, is very likely to provide lasting relief from, and effective management of, hyperhidrosis.
Conditions VATS Sympathectomy Resolves
Our specialized neurosurgeons recommend and perform this surgery almost exclusively to treat Hyperhidrosis.
VATS Sympathectomy Aftercare & Positive Recovery
Post-procedure, you will be taken to a observation room. Your recovery process will vary depending upon the type of anesthesia administered. The incision sites will be checked often during this time.
We recommend you arrange for a ride home at the appropriate time. As VATS for hyperhidrosis is an outpatient procedure, most patients are able to return home the same day.
Follow the instruciotns of your healthcare team regarding how to keep the incisions clean at home. Avoid soaking in the tub or going swimming for two weeks.
Unless Dr. Morrison or your primary care physician advises otherwise, you may resume your normal diet post-operation.
You may feel pain for roughly a week afterward, and over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine may be recommended to help alleviate any discomfort during the recovery period.
Most medicines can continue to be taken as prescribed following your VATS Sympathectomy, and most people can return to work within a week.
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Immediately following surgery, I was standing and walking pain free. I am enjoying my life again and have Dr. Morrison to thank!
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Reclaim your confidence and quality of life from hyperhidrosis. Schedule an e-consult to determine if a VATS Sympathectomy can deliver the best outcome for you.