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Under general anesthesia, two 2mm incisions (Figure 1) are used on each side to pass a tiny video camera and a single dissecting instrument into the chest. Because of the way we perform this procedure at Stanford, the incisions are so small that this is sometimes called “needlescopic surgery.”
The sympathetic trunk is visualized and divided (Figure 2) at the levels appropriate to the patient’s problem area. Nearly all patients are discharged home the same day and suffer only very minor discomfort for a few days after the operation. Although many patients experience a mild increase in sweating in other parts of their body, this is rarely problematic, and 95-98% of patients will be cured of their excessive sweating when the appropriate levels of the sympathetic trunk are divided. Patient satisfaction has been outstanding.
Why choose Stanford?
Stanford surgeons have performed approximately 150 VATS sympathectomies in the past five years, representing a very extensive experience and demonstrating our significant commitment to the care of patients with hyperhidrosis. Drs. Joseph Shrager, Chuong Hoang, and Mark Berry have a particular interest in this condition.