An ETS surgery is undertaken to cure hyperhidrosis or facial blushing. It is an effective procedure but there are many long-lasting side effects of this surgery, which cannot be ignored. The following article provides information about the various side effects of this procedure.
The human body sweats, when it has been exposed to heat, in case of rigorous exercise, in case of nervousness, or due to certain anxiety. This is natural and happens to almost everyone. But if your face, palms, or armpits sweat excessively, then there is a chance that you might have hyperhidrosis. An Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) surgery is carried out to cure this ailment.
Face blushing and hyperhidrosis can affect your social life, as it can be very embarrassing at times. This is one of the reasons why people go for this surgery. Also, it is considered to be one of the most effective methods to cure this disorder.
In our body, there are two trunks of sympathetic nerves which control sweating. Ganglia, a long chain of nerve cells, form these two trunks. Both the trunks are divided into three regions; the cervical region or the neck, the thoracic region or the chest, and lastly, the lumbar region or the lower back. In the surgery, some tissues are destroyed in each of the two sympathetic nerve trunks. Usually, the area on the upper thoracic region is operated upon. The surgery is performed by making small incisions under the armpit and near the chest. Then, with the help of an endoscope, the surgeon locates the nerves in the upper thoracic region and destroys them so as to stop sweating. The surgery usually takes an hour, and costs anywhere around USD 8,000 to USD 12,000. Since the surgery is approved by the FDA and performed in the US, most of the health insurance companies cover the cost.
ETS Surgery for Blushing
Facial blushing is when your face turns red and there is excessive sweating on the face, due to anxiety or nervousness. This may make a person uncomfortable while socializing. While performing an ETS surgery for blushing, the surgeon doesn’t destroy the nerve cells, but clips them. Since there are chances that these nerve cells could get activated in the long run, it is not a permanent solution to treat excessive blushing.
There have been reported cases of severe and long-lasting side effects of this surgery. Some of them include:
Excessive Bleeding: If, while performing the surgery, the blood vessels around the chest are unintentionally damaged, it causes severe bleeding. Though the number of such cases are very low, the maximum number of deaths reported are due to excessive bleeding.
Compensatory Sweating: Ironically, for such a surgery, the most common side effect is excessive sweating. As the sweat glands in certain areas are curbed, the body tends to sweat excessively in other areas like the back and lower back. At least 50% of the patients who have undergone this surgery have complained about this problem.
Numbness: Since certain nerve cells are destroyed during this surgery, there are complaints about not being able to feel anything on the parts where the surgery was performed. This is a common side effect of this surgery.
Gustatory Sweating and Horner’s Syndrome: These are two side effects of this surgery which are normally explained to the person prior to the surgery. Gustatory sweating means excessive sweating on the forehead while eating something spicy or even by its smell. This can be a common side effect a couple of years after the surgery. The Horner’s syndrome may cause eye problems like swelling of the eyes, drooping of the eyelids, or even sunken eyes.
Recurrence: There have been cases, where the condition has occurred again maybe a year after the surgery. No reason has been found for this recurrence. In such cases, the surgeon may request you to undergo the surgery again.
A few other side effects may be constant headache and fatigue, cold feet and hands, reduced blood circulation, collapsed lung, inability to tolerate heat, and decreased heart rate.
The surgery is not considered very safe due to its side effects. There are various natural and non-surgical methods available to cure hyperhidrosis and facial blushing. Only after all these methods have failed to deliver the desired result, an ETS surgery should be undertaken. Consult your medical health doctor to get proper information regarding the surgery and its side effects.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.