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Bilateral Sympathectomy for Hyperhidrosis

The term bilateral sympathectomy describes a procedure to cut the sympathetic nerves involved in hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating. These nerves are located in the chest and typically require the expertise of thoracic surgeons experienced in dissecting or disconnecting them.

At NorthShore, our skilled thoracic specialists routinely perform bilateral sympathectomies in the treatment of hyperhidrosis using minimally invasive video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

Preparing for a Bilateral Sympathectomy

You will need to be seen by your primary care physician prior to undergoing the procedure. Your pre-operative clearance will include a discussion of your medical history and a physical exam. You may be required to undergo several diagnostic tests, including:

What to Expect

Bilateral sympathectomy is performed under general anesthesia and typically requires an overnight stay in the hospital.

VATS, also called thoracoscopy, involves several small incisions made under the arm and between the ribs. The incisions range in size from about 1 to 2 inches.

After your procedure, your pain will be controlled using one of several methods: a pump that delivers pain medicine through your intravenous line at your demand, by a nurse administering medicine through your intravenous line at your request, or through oral medicines. 

You will want to arrange to have someone drive you home upon discharge from the hospital.

For More Information

To schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons, please call 847.570.2868.