Plantar Sweating as an Indicator of Lower Risk of Compensatory Sweating after Thoracic Sympathectomy

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Abstract

Background

Hyperhidrosis is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that results in regional excessive sweating, mostly in the hands, armpits, and feet. A permanent and effective treatment of hyperhidrosis can be achieved by interruption of the thoracic sympathetic chain with endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). However, some side effects, particularly compensatory sweating (CS), are the limitations of this procedure. The mechanism of CS and the associated risk factors are still controversial. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the relationship with various parameters associated with CS in patients undergoing ETS.

Materials and Methods

ETS was performed on a total of 95 patients for palmar hyperhidrosis, axillary hyperhidrosis and facial blushing by the same surgeon. The mean age of the patients was 26.41 (± 7) years, and 54 (56.8%) were males. Palmar hyperhidrosis was present in 54 (56.8%) patients, axillary hyperhidrosis in 33 (34.7%) patients, and facial blushing in 8 (8.5%) patients. Moreover, 38 (40%) patients also had plantar sweating. The severity of CS was rated into three scales as less, moderate, and severe.

Results

Regarding the severity of CS, 55 (57.9%) patients had no or less CS, 28 (29.5%) had moderate CS, and 12 (12.6%) patients had severe CS. Higher age group had a significant increased risk of severe CS (p = 0.03) (r = 0.262). Patients with body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/m2 had a statistically significantly increased risk of severe CS (p = 0.016). Facial blushing resulted in severe CS in a significantly higher proportion of patients than by palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis (p = 0.001). The level of surgery was another important risk factor for CS, with the T2 level showing an increased risk of severe CS compared with T3 level (p < 0.001). Furthermore, plantar sweating was inversely and significantly related to the development of CS. Patients with plantar sweating had a significantly decreased incidence of developing CS (p = 0.015).

Conclusion

CS after thoracic sympathectomy for primary hyperhidrosis is the most displeasing and restrictive side effect. This study demonstrates that older age, operation level, facial blushing, and high BMI are risk factors for CS, as have been shown in several similar studies. An interesting finding of the present study is that there was a decreased incidence of CS among patients with plantar sweating. This situation may help us to distinguish high risk for CS before ETS operation.

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