The Division of Thoracic Surgery is experienced in treating hyperhidrosis.

Our bodies naturally perspire (sweat) as a way to regulate heat. In some people, perspiration can be excessive — a condition known as hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis occurs when the body creates perspiration in excess of what is necessary to cool the body. This excessive sweating is particularly troublesome when it occurs on the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis).Definition of Excessive Sweating

The process of sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This involuntary nervous system controls millions of sweat glands throughout the body, including many glands located in the hands.

Management of Hyperhidrosis

Thoracoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

The procedure to manage hyperhidrosis is performed through several small incisions in each armpit.

While under anesthesia, a small scope with a camera is inserted into the chest cavity, allowing the physician to identify the sympathetic chain identified and remove it at a specific level. This technique optimizes the patient’s result, and reduces the occurrence of complications.

Most patients can leave the hospital within hours of the operation, and can resume full activities within one week.

Hyperhidrosis Treatment Services

Hand Sweating (Palmar Hyperhidrosis)

Excessive hand sweating, known as “palmar hyperhidrosis,” is the most common presentation of hyperhidrosis. Excessive hand sweating can be quite severe by affecting a patient's life both functionally and socially.

In most patients, the problem is genetic. Palmar hyperhidrosis usually begins in childhood and becomes more severe toward early adulthood.

Armpit Sweating (Axillary Hyperhidrosis)

The presence of some axillary (armpit) sweat and odor is normal in all people past puberty. When excessive, it is termed axillary hyperhidrosis.

Topical deodorants and antiperspirants may be an appropriate treatment for some patients, and thoracoscopic thoracic sympathectomy may be an appropriate axillary hyperhidrosis treatment, which can offer benefits to some patients with this complaint.

To make an appointment at Mass General Hospital, please call our toll-free number at 1-888-MGH-PALM.

Back to Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service