What Are Sweaty Palms?
Sweaty palms, medically known as palmar hyperhidrosis, are marked by uncontrollable or excessive sweating of the hands or palms. Although not medically harmful, sweaty palms can be inconvenient and embarrassing, and can interfere with your work, daily activities, social interactions and self-confidence.
What Causes Sweaty Palms?
Sweaty palms, is caused by overactive sweat glands on the palms. Patients find their hands will sweat uncontrollably and excessively regardless of external factors like temperature; although stress and anxiety can often cause symptoms to worsen.
In order to diagnose someone with palmar hyperhidrosis, symptoms must last for more than six months without any known cause. Other factors taken into consideration include age, family history and other sweating patterns.
Where Conservative Treatments Don’t Suffice
There exist many conservative modes of treatment for hyperhidrosis, which includes antiperspirants (to block the sweat glands), or a Botox injection to the palms (reduces sweat production from the sweat glands). Certain medications and electromagnetic therapies (iontophoresis) may also be used.
However, in severe cases where the sweaty palms do not respond well enough to these conservative treatments, then sweaty palm surgery may be considered.
Sweaty Palm Surgery
Sweaty palm surgery, also known as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) or video-assisted thoracoscopic sympathectomy (VATS), is a minimally invasive procedure that provides a permanent solution to severely sweaty palms.
Performed under general anaesthesia, sweaty palm surgery can be completed in less than an hour. 2 small incisions are created in the armpit area, through which a miniature camera will be inserted to guide the surgical tools around the thoracic (lung) cavity. Once the target sympathetic nerves (The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for producing localised adjustments in the body, such as sweating in response to heat). are located, the surgeon will cut or clip them. Results are often immediate with risks being very low.
Dr Loh Yee Jim is an experienced cardiothoracic surgeon skilled in the minimally invasive treatment of sweaty palms using the ETS technique.