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The Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service at Massachusetts General Hospital uses a minimally invasive surgical approach to managing upper body hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) for appropriate patients.
Our bodies naturally sweat to regulate body temperature. Hyperhidrosis occurs when the body creates perspiration in excess of what is necessary to cool itself. When this condition affects the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis) or armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis),it can have a dramatic impact on the patient's everyday life. In many cases, it can compromise his or her ability to function in the workplace and at home.
Our surgical approach, thoracoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, can eliminate palmar hyperhidrosis and also can help decrease axillary hyperhidrosis (armpit perspiration).
Our surgical team includes board-certified thoracic surgeons who have a long history of treating hyperhidrosis. Our suergeons perform the full range of thoracic surgery, bringing a level of skill and expertise to help ensure patient comfort and safety.
Although surgery for hyperhidrosis is relatively simple, as with all operations, it still carries some risk. At Mass General, patients undergo the procedure at a world-renowned hospital that provides safe, high-quality care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery.
Since 1995, Mass General has offered a full range of care options to hyperhidrosis patients. Combining state-of-the-art technology with our tradition of surgical excellence, our minimally invasive treatment approach has evolved to:
Patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation of their condition to determine the best approach to managing their upper body hyperhidrosis. Most patients are treated initially with several medical interventions in the hope of avoiding surgery.
However, for patients with severe hyperhidrosis who have failed nonsurgical treatments, we may recommend thoracoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. This minimally invasive procedure is usually performed through several small incisions in the armpit.
While the patient is under anesthesia, a small scope with a camera is inserted into the chest cavity. Your surgeon can then identify and interrupt the nerve ganglia that are responsible for the excess sweating. Most patients treated with this technique can leave the hospital within hours and resume normal activities within one week.
Patients treated for hyperhidrosis at Mass General receive not only excellent medical treatment but also high-quality customer service. Our experienced administrative team can help coordinate insurance paperwork and physician referrals and explain the entire treatment process.
To make an appointment, please call 888-MGH-PALM (888-644-7256). We can usually schedule your initial consultation/evaluation within one to two weeks.
For the convenience of our patients, we also provide hyperhidrosis-related services at our offices at:
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.
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.
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.
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, please call our toll-free number at 1-888-MGH-PALM.
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that can affect the entire body.
Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service
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