Trans-Axillary Transpleural Sympathectomy for Palmar Hyperhidrosis in Children - A 3 to 7 Year Follow-Up of 9 Cases

A. J.W. Millar, Z. Steiner, H. Rode, S. Cywes

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Primary palmar hyperhidrosis can be a most unpleasant and distressing affliction. When normal daily activities, viz. writing, schoolwork, are interfered with and other treatments have failed, surgery is indicated. Between 1983-1987 9 children (6 F, 3M), mean age 10.2 years (range 5-14 years) underwent bilateral transaxillary sympathectomy, 4 simultaneous and 5 1-4 weeks apart. On 14 sides a standard excision of dorsal ganglia (DG) 2, 3, and 4 was performed. The technique of lateral displacement of the sympathetic chain after transection distal to DG 4 and division of preganglionic fibres of DG 4, 3 and 2 was used on 5 sides. In addition to clinical evaluation a pilocarpine stimulation test was performed on the palms of the hands before and at follow-up 3-7 years after surgery. 17/18 hands appeared sympathectomised at early follow-up. One inadequate result required reoperation. Other complications included 2 Horner's syndromes - 1 transient and 1 mild but permanent; 3 temporary intercostobrachial paraesthesias, 2 mild late recurrences of sweating and 2 compensatory increases in sweating. In 14 palms where sweat volume was measured before and 3-7 years after surgery there was a mean decrease in sweat of 84 % (mg), those sweating the most prior to surgery having the best response. In 2 further palms insufficient sweat was obtained for testing. All but 1 considered the procedure worthwhile. Transaxillary transpleural sympathectomy is a safe, effective, and cosmetically acceptable operation to control symptoms of excessive palmar sweating. Preganglionic division of DG 2, 3 and 4 with lateral displacement of the chain appears an equally effective technique and theoretically avoids the danger of post-operative Horner's syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Palmar hyperhidrosis
  • Transaxillary sympathectomy


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