Thursday, December 2, 2010


Dr. Robert J. Brueck periodically blogs here on subjects related to cosmetic surgery, skin conditions and general health. For more information about cosmetic surgery, visit Dr. Brueck's web site.

Do you?

I have become quite aware that this is an increasing problem for many people today. I recently went to the national plastic surgery meeting in Toronto and learned that 7 to 8 million people suffer from hyperhidrosis or simply too much sweating.

The most common category of excessive sweating is primary hyperhidrosis There is no known cause. Excessive sweating can affect hands, face, underarms or feet. Secondary hyperhidrosis is due to over-active thyroid, high fever i.e. infection, maybe obesity, just to name a few.

The treatment for hyperhidrosis is either medical or surgical. There also seems to be hereditary component to this disorder. Some of the non-surgical solutions include certain medications, super strong antiperspirants such as Dry Sol. Another option is a procedure called Iontophoresis. Basically you put your hand and/or feet into a pan of water and pass a low voltage electric current through it. This somehow disrupts the sweat glands. This is not a permanent cure. One of the medicines you can take is Rubinal and it blocks the nerves that stimulate sweat glands but it can also lead to dry mouth.

Every so often we see patients with excessive sweating in the armpits and we do Botox injections to the area. This is an expensive procedure. Usually we inject around 100 units of Botox and at ten to twelve dollars per unit you can see that it becomes quite costly. When you consider that this may last 6 months to 8 months, the cost can be prohibitive.

One of the more common surgical therapies is ETS/Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy. This is usually done by a thoracic surgeon. The surgery takes 2-3 hours and patients usually stay overnight in the hospital. This procedure is great for excessive sweating in the palms. This procedure will cure about two-thirds of patients who have excessive sweating in their feet as well.

For patients with excessive sweating in their axilla or armpits we can do arthroscopic axillary gland resection. The area of excessive sweating is mapped out/a small incision is made in the armpit/the skin is separated and a small, about the size of pencil, arthrotomy shaver is used to remove the sweat glands. This procedure is done as an outpatient with a little sedation and takes about one hour. You can go back to work in a few days. This has proved very successful. It is also very cost effective if you consider the cost of Botox injections which have to be repeated every six months or so.

So if you are suffering from excessive sweating and would like to consider whether or not this procedure is for you please call our office at (239)939-5233 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We will have a special offer to the first five patients we see.

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