NYU Langone Offers Unique Solution For Excessive Sweating
NYU Langone Medical Center now offers a simple surgical treatment for those suffering from chronic hyperhidrosis, a medical condition where a person’s natural cooling mechanism overcompensates without any environmental triggers. Though hyperhidrosis affects only three percent of the U.S. population, those who have it face the discomfort of sweaty hands, underarms, feet or face – and the stigma and embarrassment that it may cause. And, while the symptoms often lead people to change their lifestyles and impacts careers choices, less than 40 percent of those suffering with hyperhidrosis seek medical advice.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is a minimally invasive procedure performed by specially trained neurosurgeons in which the overactive nerves associated with excessive sweating are interrupted. A surgeon makes small, 1cm incisions in each armpit to cut or clip the nerve pathways, turning off the signals to the affected sweat glands. ETS takes 20 minutes on each side, with total time in the OR about two hours – and patients return home the following day.
“Most people who suffer from hyperhidrosis assume they just have to endure the excessive and oftentimes embarrassing sweating, which can result in everything from minor annoyances such as smudged writing paper to much greater issues like difficulty holding a pen or the social discomfort caused by soaked clothing and wet handshakes,” says Noel Perin, MD, FRCS (Ed), FACS, director of minimally invasive spinal neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Perin is an expert in minimally invasive surgical techniques such as ETS, the treatment of complex disorders of the spine, spine and spinal cord tumors and peripheral nerve disorders. “It is important to remove the stigma associated with this condition – and inform the public to the many solutions available to treat and mitigate the symptoms.”
Though many patients receive effective and adequate relief from medical treatments such as prescription antiperspirants, anticholinergic medications and BOTOX injections, the effectiveness of these treatments may decline over time. “Many of our patients had surgical interventions such as radiofrequency ablation or surgical removal of the sympathetic nerves after unsuccessful medical management, with excellent results,” adds Dr. Perin.
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