Sweaty Palms - Hand Sweating

Sweaty Palms (Palmar Hyperhidrosis) or as it is otherwise known as excessive hand sweating is a clinical condition where there is excessive hand sweating beyond the physiological need. This problem that has functional and social implications affects about 1% of the population. When it is severe drops of water are literally coming out of a person's palms. The problem starts usually at an early age and in the majority of the cases it continues throughout life. This excessive hand sweating affects both on the social and the functional level. It can be detrimental to younger kids because of the constant harassment and misunderstanding by their peers. Later on in life simple tasks such as driving, use of computers, drawing and writing are very much problematic for those patients. Many physicians, parents and patients thought hyperhidrosis was connected to some mental health (stress, etc) issues. It is not because hyperhidrosis (including excessive hand sweating) can happen at any given time including normal day to day situations that involve no stress. It can cause people to become more introverted making them less social.

As in any other medical problem conservative treatments should be tried first to deal with excessive hand sweating. Medications are available as well as lotions or electrical instruments to try and alleviate this problem. (See alternative hyperhidrosis treatments). Statistically the severe cases of excessive palm sweating are rarely helped with the above listed conservative treatments. Having said that it is still recommended and demanded by some insurance companies to try some conservative treatment measures.

Surgical approaches for this problem have existed for the past 60-70 years. Improvements in the surgical techniques which include fiber optic methods enabled us to offer a surgical solution to treat this clinical presentation of excessive hand sweating. Not only did the surgical technique improve but also refinement of the actual procedure made the operation better. The method is known as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy and it is performed on a outpatient basis. The operation is very successful in eliminating hand sweating.

Learn more at Dr. Reisfeld's Hyperhidrosis page

Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy is most effective for excessive hand sweating however it is not the ideal solution for excessive foot sweating (plantar hyperhidrosis) Fortunately a new technique known as lumbar sympathectomy is now offered to patients on whom the endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy did not improve their excessive foot sweating.

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Frequently Asked Hand Sweating Questions:

Causes of hand sweating. Why do people get excessive hand sweating?
The most likely reason is genetics. It has been shown in various medical papers that more than 50% do have a family history. This can be with immediate relatives (Father/Mother) or more remote family members (Aunt, Uncle). The specific gene location is believed to be known but the practical implications are still quite away from being translated into treatment.

What do the T levels mean in relation to the ETS surgery?
When a number is added to the T (i.e. T2) it is describing the location of where the sympathectomy is done. T2 correlates to the second rib level, T3 means third rib level T4 means fourth rib level and so on.