Thoracic sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis: from surgical indications to clinical results
Sympathectomy and its variations have been performed in thoracic surgery for more than 100 years. However, its indications have undergone profound modifications in this period. Likewise, since then the surgical technique has also evolved dramatically up to the minimally invasive techniques worldwide accessible in present days. Currently, primary hyperhidrosis is, by far, the main indication for thoracic sympathectomy and this procedure is usually carried out thoracoscopically with excellent results. However, until today, hyperhidrosis is a part of thoracic surgery still surrounded by controversy, persisting as an open field over which some confusion still resides regarding its pathophysiology, terms definitions and operative approaches. The aim of this article is to provide a wide but easily comprehensible review of the theme, discussing and clarifying the major concepts with respect to its clinical presentation, all the presently available treatment options and strategies with their potential benefits and risks, the adequate patient selection for sympathectomy, as well as the postoperative clinical results.