Surgical treatments for excessive sweating
The website suggested that for excessive sweating, there are some surgical treatments that could be applied. What exactly are these surgical treatments and what are there success rates? Thank you. JM
Hi JM. Thank you for sending your inquiry.
Yes, there are surgical treatments for excessive sweating. The treatment options may vary depending on which areas of your body you are having excess sweating.
In the armpits (axillae), you can have Botox or Dysport injections done. This is not permanent. Most patients respond well to the injections and will have decreased sweating for 6 to 9 months. This is the most popular treatment right now. It wouldn’t be considered surgical.
Another option for the armpits is to have a procedure done called retro-dermal curettage (axillary suction curettage). Retro-dermal curettage is a liposuction type procedure where you inject a large volume of a dilute anesthetic into the armpit area. You then take a liposuction cannula and insert it through tiny ports (little incisions made in the skin) and scrape the underside of the skin where the sweat glands live. The cannula is a small hollow metal tube. It has holes at the end and the edge of the hole is a little bit sharp. For liposuction, you point the “hole” on the cannula downward to suck out fatty tissue. For sweating, you point the cannula up toward the skin and basically scar the sweat glands down so that you no longer sweat. This is really a pretty easy procedure to undergo, and is very safe. It is effective for most patients and can give a permanent decrease in sweating of 50 to 90% or so. This would be considered a surgical procedure.
The other procedure that we offer for excess sweating can be performed in the armpits, and on the palms and soles of the feet. It is called Ultherapy. Ultherapy is an ultrasound device that sends high frequency ultrasound waves below the skin. It is most often used to tighten the skin of the neck, jawline, and face. However, when Ultherapy is done for sweating, the ultrasound waves penetrate the skin to the depth of the sweat glands and actually destroy the sweat glands. The preliminary studies done with this procedure showed a 70% reduction in the amount of sweating after 2 treatments. We believe it should have permanent, or very long-standing effects. It is NOT invasive, and is a great option for sweat reduction.
Finally, you can have the nerves that are associated with sweating cut. Depending on where you are sweating will change where the nerves should be cut. This procedure is called a sympathectomy. It is usually performed by a thoracic surgeon.
I hope this helps. I would be happy to see you in consultation to discuss the treatments further and pick the one that is right for you.
Thank you for your inquiry.
Jennifer Reichel MD
Director, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center
11011 Meridian Ave N Ste 102
Seattle WA, 98133