An Inside Look at ETS Surgery

ETS SurgeryIf you suffer from hyperhidrosis, a condition of excessive sweating that interferes with daily life, you may be a candidate for a specialized surgery known as an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). While this may be an intimidating prospect at first glance, ETS surgery is a safe and effective way to control hyperhidrosis symptoms successfully.

Here’s an inside look at ETS surgery, including what the procedure entails, who may benefit from this type of surgery, and what to expect during recovery from ETS.


What Is ETS Surgery?

An endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that can help control symptoms of excessive sweating of the palms. Hyperhidrosis experts note that this treatment method is only curative way of controlling sweaty palms compared to other procedures and medications which provide only temporary relief.

What Happens During ETS Surgery?

The ETS procedure is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be completely asleep.   During ETS surgery, a surgeon targets the chain of nerves known as the “sympathetic nerve chain” that controls your body’s sweating response.  They do this by making small incisions underneath your arms to access your chest cavity, which is where the sympathetic nerve chain is found.  Once they locate the nerve chain using a small camera known as a thoracoscope, the surgeon divides the sympathetic nerve chain at a very specific location.   Once complete, the incisions are sutured with dissolvable stitches.  This process is then repeated on the other side of the body. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour.

How to Prepare for ETS Surgery

Your surgeon and his dedicated staff will inform you thoroughly about how to prepare for ETS surgery. Your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain medications within a specific time frame before surgery, particularly if you take blood thinners.  There may be pre-operative testing required for some patients as well.  

Who Is a Candidate for ETS Surgery?

To be a candidate for ETS surgery, you must be suffering from the specific condition of hyperhidrosis of the palms. While other areas of the body can be improved after the ETS procedure (i.e., axilla, feet), the palms are the primary target. Your surgeon will work with you to evaluate your other medical conditions, if any, to determine if the procedure is right for you.

What Is Recovery Like After ETS Surgery?

The ETS is an outpatient procedure, which means you will be released home just hours after surgery.  Your surgeon may recommend pain medication to help manage pain and discomfort during your recovery.  Most patients return to normal activity within a week or two.  

In some cases, patients may experience an increase in their sweating  in a different part of the body after an ETS procedure. This is known as compensatory sweating, which occurs in the minority of patients who get the procedure.  When it occurs, the most common area is the back or upper legs.  In the case of compensatory sweating, your surgeon can help manage the condition.

How to Learn More about ETS Surgery

Sweaty palms can get in the way of your everyday affairs. However, ETS surgery can help. The Hyperhidrosis Center at Thoracic Group is a one-stop shop for relief from excessive sweating. For more information about ETS surgery, including whether you may be a candidate for this life-changing procedure, contact us today.