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Surgery for Excessive Sweating

Surgery for excessive sweating is usually a last resort for those who suffer from hyperhidrosis. One approach - called endoscopic sympathectomy - involves cutting or clipping the nerves that cause abnormal sweating. The location of the incisions depends on where these nerves are located. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) uses tiny incisions under the arms; the incisions for endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy (ELS) are closer to the navel. ETS is mostly uses for facial blushing or palmar and auxiliary sweating while ELS mostly for plantar sweating. These surgeries can often be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you don't have to spend the night in the hospital1.

The other option is surgical sweat gland removal. In this operation the axillary glands are actually removed. Doctors typically only remove sweat glands as a last resort for people whose lifestyles are seriously affected by hyperhidrosis.

You don't have to live with excessive sweating. To learn more about the range of effective treatment options, find a sweat management specialist in your area.

Treatment Details

Where can it be used?
Palms, underarms, soles of the feet
What are possible side effects?
Like all surgeries, there are risks. These include the possibility of infection, and/or damage to nerves in the area where the incisions are made. In addition, some patients' bodies "make up" for the decreased sweating in the treated area by producing more sweat in other areas of the body (called compensatory hyperhidrosis).
How much does it cost?
The cost of surgery depends on the type and extent of the procedure(s).
Will insurance pay for it?
Surgery is usually covered by government health benefits. Your hyperhidrosis specialist can help you determine your benefit and whether or not surgery is right for you.

1 Drott C, Gothberg G, Claes G. Endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy: an efficient and safe method for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. J Am Acad Dermatol. Jul 1995;33(1):78-81.

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