Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is surgery to treat sweating that is much heavier than normal. This condition is called hyperhidrosis. Usually the surgery is used to treat sweating in the palms or face. The surgery stops or turns off the nerve signals that tell the part of the body to sweat too much. This surgery improves the quality of life for most patients. It does not work as well for people who have very heavy armpit sweating. Some people may notice new sweating, but this may go away on its own.
About the procedure
The procedure is performed endoscopically, using small incicions to insert surgical implements and a tiny camera called an endoscope into the chest. The surgeon locates the nerves that control sweating in the problem area. These will be cut or destroyed. A small drainage tube may be left in your chest for 1 day. After doing this procedure on one side of your body, your surgeon will do the same thing on the other side. The surgery takes about 1 - 3 hours.
Why the Procedure is Performed
This surgery is usually done in patients whose palms sweat much more heavily than normal. It may also be used to treat extreme sweating of the face. It is only used when other treatments to reduce sweating have not worked.