The amount of compensatory sweating depends on the patient, the damage that the white rami communicans incurs, and the amount of cell body reorganization in the spinal cord after surgery.
Other potential complications include inadequate resection of the ganglia, gustatory sweating, pneumothorax, cardiac dysfunction, post-operative pain, and finally Horner’s syndrome secondary to resection of the stellate ganglion.

After severing the cervical sympathetic trunk, the cells of the cervical sympathetic ganglion undergo transneuronic degeneration
After severing the sympathetic trunk, the cells of its origin undergo complete disintegration within a year.

Spinal cord infarction occurring during thoraco-lumbar sympathectomy
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1963;26:418-421 doi:10.1136/jnnp.26.5.418

Sunday, February 14, 2016

because bilateral ETS causes the suppression of cardiovascular response to exercise, patients that has been treated with ETS need to be observed during high-level exercise


AUTHORS: Kazushi Takaishi, MD, Etsuo Tabo, MD, Kazuo Nakanishi, MD, Masao Soutani, MD,PhD, Kyoji Tsuno, MD, Tatsuru Arai, MDAFFILIATION: Ehime University, Shigenobu, Japan.
INTRODUCTION: Palmar hyperhidrosis is characterized by an overactivity of the sympathetic fibers passing through T2 and T3 ganglia. Although endoscopic transthoracic sympathicotomy (ETS) is an effective treatment for palmar hyperhidrosis, the partial cardiac denervation that follows may cause impairment of cardiovascular function at rest and during exercise. The purpose of this study was to compare the cardiovascular response to exercise between patients with palmar hyperhidrosis and a normal control population, and to examine the effects of ETS on cardiovascular response in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis.
METHODS: After institutional approval and informed consent, 16 patients with palmar hyperhidrosis undergoing bilateral T2- T4 ETS and 10 healthy volunteers were studied. First, before ETS administration, heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and serum catecholamine (SC) at rest were measured in the patient group and in normal subjects. Then, changes in HR, BP and SC as a result of isometric handgrip exercise (IHE) were measured in both groups. Finally, HR and BP at rest, changes in HR and BP as a result of general exercise (GE), and changes in HR, BP and SC as a result of IHE were measured in the patient group both one day before and one day after ETS was administered.RESULTS: Although there was no significant difference in HR and BP at rest between the patient group before ETS and normal subjects, the value of serum adrenaline in the patient group (0.6 ng/ml) was significantly lower than that in normal subjects (2.6 ng/ml, p<0.01). Changes in HR, BP and SC to IHE were similar in both groups before ETS. HR and BP at rest, and changes in HR and BP as a result of GE and IHE were significantly decreased after ETS (p<0.05).
DISCUSSION: HR and BP at rest and cardiovascular response to exercise were similar in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis before ETS and in the normal control population. Therefore, we consider that patients with palmar hyperhidrosis have no overactivity of the sympathetic nerve. However, because bilateral ETS causes the suppression of cardiovascular response to exercise, patients that has been treated with ETS need to be observed during high-level exercise.

K Takaishi, E Tabo, K Nakanishi, M Soutani, K Tsuno, T Arai:
Cardiovascular effects of bilateral endoscopic transthoracic sympathicotomy at rest and during exercise in patients with palmar hyperhidrosis.
International Anesthesia Research Society
The 74th Clinical and Scientific Congress 2000

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sympathectomy: a neurocardiologic disorder

Bilateral thoracic sympathectomies or sympathotomies are done for refractory palmar hyperhidrosis [85–87]. Iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injection, and glycopyrrolate cream are alternatives. Because sweating is mediated mainly by sympathetic cholinergic fibers, autonomic neurosurgery is usually effective; however, a variety of expected and unexpected consequences can result, including ectopic (e.g., plantar) hyperhidrosis, gustatory sweating, Horner syndrome, and decreased heart rate responses to exercise. The latter seems to be related to partial cardiac denervation [88]. Anecdotally, fatigue, altered mood, blunted emotion, and decreased ability to concentrate can develop after bilateral thoracic sympathectomies. 
β-Adrenoceptor blockers are a mainstay of treatment for CPVT. An automated defibrillator may have to be implanted. Treatment for CPVT also includes left sympathectomy. Such treatment leaves open the theoretical possibilities of denervation supersensitivity of cardiac adrenoceptors and compensatory activation of the adrenomedullary hormonal system; however, plasma levels of catecholamines have not been assessed in CPVT with or without therapeutic cardiac denervation.

Table 1. Neurocardiologic disorders that feature abnormal catecholaminergic function
Disorders where abnormal catecholaminergic function is etiologic Hypofunctional states without central neurodegeneration
Acute, primary
Neurocardiogenic syncope Spinal cord transection Acute pandysautonomia Sympathectomy
Acute, secondary
Drug-related (e.g., alcohol, tricyclic antidepressant, chemotherapy, opiate, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, sympatholytics, general anesthesia)
Guillain–Barre syndrome Alcohol
Chronic, primary
Pure autonomic failure
Horner's syndrome
Familial dysautonomia
Carotid sinus syncope
Adie's syndrome Dopamine-β-hydroxylase deficiency

Thursday, July 30, 2015

the clinical results of both surgical and neurolityc sympathectomy are uncertain

However, the clinical results of both surgical and neurolityc sympathectomy are uncertain. Indeed these procedures lead to a redistribution of the blood flow in the lower limbs from the muscle to the skin, with a concomitant fall of the regional resistance, mainly in undamaged vessels. The blood flow will be diverted into this part of the vascular tree, so that a "stealing" of the blood flow may occur.
Vito A. Peduto, Giancarlo Boero, Antonio Marchi, Riccardo Tani
Bilateral extensive skin necrosis of the lower limbs following prolonged epidural blockade

Anaesthesia 1976; 31: 1068-75.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

sympathectomy created imbalance of autonomic activity and functional changes of the intrathoracic organs

Surgical thoracic sympathectomy such as ESD (endoscopic thoracic sympathectic denervation) or heart transplantation can result in an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic activities and result in functional changes in the intrathoracic organs.

Therefore, the procedures affecting sympathetic nerve functions, such as epidural anesthesia, ESD, and heart transplantation, may cause an imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activities (1, 6, 16, 17). Recently, it has been reported that ESD results in functional changes of the intrathoracic organs.

In conclusion, our study demonstrated that ESD adversely affected lung function early after surgery and the BHR was affected by an imbalance of autonomic activity created by bilateral ESD in patients with primary focal hyperhidrosis.
Journal of Asthma, 46:276–279, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Middle cerebral artery blood velocity during exercise with beta-1 adrenergic and unilateral stellate ganglion blockade in humans

 2000 Sep;170(1):33-8.

Middle cerebral artery blood velocity during exercise with beta-1 adrenergic and unilateral stellate ganglion blockade in humans.


A reduced ability to increase cardiac output (CO) during exercise limits blood flow by vasoconstriction even in active skeletal muscle. Such a flow limitation may also take place in the brain as an increase in the transcranial Doppler determined middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCA V(mean)) is attenuated during cycling with beta-1 adrenergic blockade and in patients with heart insufficiency. We studied whether sympathetic blockade at the level of the neck (0.1% lidocaine; 8 mL; n=8) affects the attenuated exercise - MCA V(mean following cardio-selective beta-1 adrenergic blockade (0.15 mg kg(-1) metoprolol i.v.) during cycling. Cardiac output determined by indocyanine green dye dilution, heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and MCA V(mean) were obtained during moderate intensity cycling before and after pharmacological intervention. During control cycling the right and left MCA V(mean) increased to the same extent (11.4 +/- 1.9 vs. 11.1 +/- 1.9 cm s(-1)). With the pharmacological intervention the exercise CO (10 +/- 1 vs. 12 +/- 1 L min(-1); n=5), HR (115 +/- 4 vs. 134 +/- 4 beats min(-1)) and delta MCA V(mean) (8.7 +/- 2.2 vs. 11.4 +/- 1.9 cm s(-1) were reduced, and MAP was increased (100 +/- 5 vs. 86 +/- 2 mmHg; P < 0.05). However, sympathetic blockade at the level of the neck eliminated the beta-1 blockade induced attenuation in delta MCA V(mean) (10.2 +/- 2.5 cm s(-1)). These results indicate that a reduced ability to increase CO during exercise limits blood flow to a vital organ like the brain and that this flow limitation is likely to be by way of the sympathetic nervous system.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sympathectomy at the level of the T2 ganglion leads to decreased negative feedback to the hypothalamus

Compensatory sweating was originally thought to be a mechanism of excessive sweating (in an anatomical region with an intact sympathetic nervous system) to maintain a constant rate of total sweat secretion.90 However, this theory was not confirmed by other studies, demonstrating that compensatory sweating represented a reflex action by an altered feedback mechanism at the level of the hypothalamus which is dependent on the level at which sympathetic denervation occurs. Sympathectomy at the level of the T2 ganglion leads to decreased negative feedback to the hypothalamus. When performing a sympathectomy at a lower level, the negative feedback to the hypothalamus is less inhibited, leading to a decrease in compensatory sweating. Chou et al.91 have proposed the term ‘reflex sweating’ to replace compensatory sweating. Other side effects described in a review article by Dumont89 are gustatory sweating, cardiac effects, phantom sweating, lung function changes, dry hands and altered taste. Besides these side effects there are significant risks of complications during and after surgery (arterial or venous vascular injury, pneumothorax, infection, Horner syndrome etc.).

JEADV 2012, 26, 1–8 Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

Saturday, January 17, 2015

peripheral sympathectomy causes a dramatic increase in NGF levels in the denervated organs

Increased Nerve Growth Factor Messenger RNA and Protein

Peripheral NGF mRNA and protein levels following
It has been shown previously that peripheral sympathectomy
causes a dramatic increase in NGF levels in the denervated
 (Yap et al., 1984; Kanakis et al., 1985; Korsching and
Thoenen, 1985).
Increased ,&Nerve Growth Factor Messenger RNA and Protein
Levels in Neonatal Rat Hippocampus Following Specific Cholinergic
Scott R. Whittemore,” Lena Liirkfors,’ Ted Ebendal,’ Vicky R. Holets, 2,a Anders Ericsson, and HBkan Persson
Departments of Medical Genetics and’ Zoology, Uppsala University, S-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden, and *Department of

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Compensatory sweating is not compensatory

Does compensatory sweating only happen to hyperhidrosis patients who underwent ETS?

The exact reason for compensatory sweating is yet to be determined. There are some physiological explanations for that but none are yet completely proven. The reason for this statement is that compensatory sweating happens in a mild, moderate or a higher level of sweating. The fact that not everyone responds in the same way to the hyperhidrosis operation points to the unknown nature of this problem. More than that patients who underwent thoracic sympathectomy for reasons OTHER than hyperhidrosis also develop compensatory sweating in different intensities. This last statement shows that compensatory sweating happens to both hyperhidrosis patients and non-hyperhidrosis patients who have undergone the surgery.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sympathectomy reduces emotional, stress-induced sweating indicating that it affects the stress-response

"...for reasons that are not obvious, many patients with facial hyperhidrosis and hyperhidrosis of the feet will benefit from upper thoracic sympathectomy. " 

(The Journal of Pain, Vol 1, No 4 (Winter), 2000: pp 261-264)

"Bilateral upper thoracic sympathicolysis is followed by redistribution of body perspiration, with a clear decrease in the zones regulated by mental or emotional stimuli, and an increase in the areas regulated by environmental stimuli, though we are unable to establish the etiology of this redistribution." 

(Surg Endosc. 2007 Nov;21(11):2030-3. Epub 2007 Mar 13.) 

"Palmar hyperhidrosis of clinical severity is a hallmark physical sign of many anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and especially social phobia.4 These are increasingly well understood and highly treatable neurobiological conditions. They are mod- erately heritable hard-wired fear responses,5 and are linked to amygdalar and locus coeruleus hyper-reactivity during psycho- social stress.6,7 Anxiety disorders are known to be much more common among women. This is consistent with the finding of Krogstad et al. that among controls sweating was reported more often by men, while among the hyperhidrosis group sweating was reported more often among women."

"A surgical treatment for anxiety-triggered palmar hyperhidrosis is not unlike treating tearfulness in major depression by severing the nerves to the lacrimal glands. We have recently made a similar argument advocating a psychopharmacological, rather then a surgi- cal, first-line treatment for blushing.9" 
(Journal Compilation - 2006 British Association of Dermatologists - British Journal of Dermatology 2006, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07547.x)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Peripheral, autonomic regulation of locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons in brain: putative implications for psychiatry and psychopharmacology

the new data seem to allow a better understanding of how autonomic vulnerability or visceral dysfunction may precipitate or aggravate mental symptoms and disorder.

T. H. Svensson1
(1)Department of Pharmacology, Karolinska Institute, Box 60 400, S-104 01 Stockholm, Sweden
Received: 20 June 1986 Revised: 25 November 1986

"Locus coeruleus (LC) is located in the ventrallateral side of the fourth ventricle in the pontine, most of which are noradrenergic neurons projecting to the cortex, cingulate cortex, amygdala nucleus, thalamus, hypothalamus, olfactory tubercles, hippocampus, cerebellum, and spinal cord (Swanson and Hartman, 1975). Norepinephrine (NE) released from the nerve terminal of LC neurons contributes to about 70% of the total extracellular NE in primates brain (Svensson, 1987). It plays important roles not only in arousal, attention, emotion control, and stress (reviewed in Aston-Jones and Cohen, 2005Berridge and Waterhouse, 2003Bouret and Sara, 2005Nieuwenhuis et al., 2005Sara and Devauges, 1989Valentino and Van Bockstaele, 2008), but also in sensory information processing (Svensson, 1987). LC directly modulates the somatosensory information from the peripheral system. Under the stress condition, LC could completely inhibit the input from painful stimuli through the descending projection to the spinal cord (Stahl and Briley, 2004). Dys-regulations of LC neurotransmission have been suggested to be involved in physical painful symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep/arousal disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and Parkinson's disease (reviewed in Berridge and Waterhouse, 2003Grimbergen et al., 2009Mehler and Purpura, 2009)."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

direct injury to the anatomic structure of the autonomic nervous system in the thoracic cavity, and postthoracotomy pain may contribute independently or in association with each other to the development of these arrhythmias

 2013;2013:413985. doi: 10.1155/2013/413985. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Supraventricular arrhythmias after thoracotomy: is there a role for autonomic imbalance?


Supraventricular arrhythmias are common rhythm disturbances following pulmonary surgery. The overall incidence varies between 3.2% and 30% in the literature, while atrial fibrillation is the most common form. These arrhythmias usually have an uneventful clinical course and revert to normal sinus rhythm, usually before patent's discharge from hospital. Their importance lies in the immediate hemodynamic consequences, the potential for systemic embolization and the consequent long-term need for prophylactic drug administration, and the increased cost of hospitalization. Their incidence is probably related to the magnitude of the performed operative procedure, occurring more frequently after pneumonectomy than after lobectomy. Investigators believe that surgical factors (irritation of the atria per se or on the ground of chronic inflammation of aged atria), direct injury to the anatomic structure of the autonomic nervous system in the thoracic cavity, and postthoracotomy pain may contribute independently or in association with each other to the development of these arrhythmias. This review discusses currently available information about the potential mechanisms and risk factors for these rhythm disturbances. The discussion is in particular focused on the role of postoperative pain and its relation to the autonomic imbalance, in an attempt to avoid or minimize discomfort with proper analgesia utilisation.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Since changes in old age show some similarities with those following chronic sympathectomy"

"For the tracheobronchial tree. surgical (sympathectomy) and chemical (with 6-hydroxydopamine or reserpine) interventions lead to histological disappearance of the NA and NPY." (p.435)

" Prejunctional supersensitivity to norepinephrine after sympathectomy or cocaine treatment." (p. 410)

"Following chronic sympathectomy, substance P expression in presumptive sensory nerves....and NPY-expression in parasympathetic nerves autonomically innervated tissues have both been shown to increase... Experiments using NGF and anti-NGF antibodies (Kessler et al., 1983) have suggested that competition between sympathetic and sensory fibers for target-derived growth factors could explain these apparently compensatory interactions,..." (p. 33)

"Since changes in old age show some similarities with those following chronic sympathectomy, it is tempting to consider whether alterations in one group of nerves in tissues with multiple innervations trigger reciprocal changes in other populations of nerves, perhaps through the mechanism of competition for common, target-produced growth factors. The nature of these changes is such that they could be nonadaptive and even destabilizing of cardiovascular homeostasis. (p. 34) 

Impairment of sympathetic and neural function has been claimed in cholesterol-fed animals (Panek et al., 1985). It has also been suggested that surgical sympathectomy may be useful in controlling atherosclerosis in certain arterial beds (Lichter et al., 1987). Defective cholinergic arteriolar vasodilation has been claimed in atherosclerotic rabbits (Yamamoto et al., 1988) and, in our laboratory, we have recently shown impairment of response to perivascular nerves supplying the mesenteric, hepatic, and ear arteries of Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits (Burnstock et al., 1991). 
   Loss of adrenergic innervation has been reported in alcoholism (Low et al., 1975), amyloidosis (Rubenstein et al., 1983), orthostatic hypotension (Bannister et al., 1981), and subarachnoid haemorrhage (Hara and Kobayashi, 1988). Recent evidence shows that there is also a loss of noradrenergic innervation of blood vessels supplying malignant, as compared to benign, human intracranial tumours (Crockard et al., 1987). (p. 14)  

Vascular Innervation and Receptor MechanismsNew    Perspectives 

Rolf Uddman
Academic Press2 Dec 2012 - Medical - 498 pages

Saturday, December 27, 2014

sympathectomy leads to fluctuation of vasoconstriction alternated with vasodilation in an unstable fashion. Following sympathectomy the involved extremity shows regional hyper - and hypothermia

"To quote Nashold, referring to sympathectomy, "Ill- advised surgery may tend to magnify the entire symptom complex"(38). Sympathectomy is aimed at achieving vasodilation. The neurovascular instability (vacillation and instability of vasoconstrictive function), leads to fluctuation of vasoconstriction alternated with vasodilation in an unstable fashion (39). Following sympathectomy the involved extremity shows regional hyper - and hypothermia in contrast, the blood flow and skin temperature on the non- sympathectomized side are significantly lower after exposure to a cold environment (39). This phenomenon may explain the reason for spread of CRPS. In the first four weeks after sympathectomy, the Laser Doppler flow study shows an increased of blood flow and hyperthermia in the extremity (40). Then, after four weeks, the skin temperature and vascular perfusion slowly decrease and a high amplitude vasomotor constriction develops reversing any beneficial effect of surgery (39). According to Bonica , "about a dozen patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in whom I have carried out preoperative diagnostic sympathetic block with complete pain relief, sympathectomy produced either partial or no relief (40)"

Chronic Pain

 Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy : Prevention and Management
Front Cover
CRC PressINC, 1993 - Medical - 202 pages

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Despite the simplicity and rapidity of the procedure, some patients experience intense, in some cases persistent, postoperative pain

Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia - The incidence of residual pneumothorax after video-assisted sympathectomy with and without pleural drainage and its effect on postoperative pain:

"Anteroposterior chest X-ray in the orthostatic position, while inhaling, was absolutely normal in 18 patients (32.1%), and residual pneumothorax was detected in 17 patients (30.4%). When the patients were separated into two groups (those who had received drainage and those who had not), 25.9% (7 patients) and 34.4% (10 patients), respectively, presented residual pneumothorax, with no difference between the two groups (p = 0.48) (Figure 1).

The additional alterations were laminar atelectasis and emphysema of the subcutaneous cellular tissue.

Chest X-rays in the orthostatic position, while exhaling, revealed residual pneumothorax in 39.3% (22 patients) and was absolutely normal in 25% (14 patients). On the same X-rays, when patients were analyzed separately, residual pneumothorax was seen in 33.3% of the patients who had received drainage (9 patients) and in 44.8% (13 patients) of those who had not, with no difference between the two groups (p = 0.37) (Figure 1).

The low-dose computed tomography scans of the chest detected residual pneumothorax in 76.8% (43 patients). In the patients submitted to postoperative drainage, this rate was 70.3% (19 patients), compared with 82.7% (24 patients) in those without pleural drainage, with no difference between the two groups (p = 0.27) (Figure 1). Therefore, the overall rate of occult pneumothorax (only visible through tomography), revealed on anteroposterior X-rays was 35.7% (20 patients): 48.2% while patients were inhaling and 41.1% while patients were exhaling. The VAS score in the PACU ranged from 0 to 10, with a mean of 2.16 ± 0.35.

Regarding characteristics, 44.6% of the patients reported chest pain upon breathing and 32.1% reported retrosternal pain. The same evaluation performed in the infirmary, during the immediate postoperative period, ranged from 0 to 10, with a mean of 3.75 ± 0.30, being 69.6% of chest pain upon breathing and 78.6% of retrosternal pain. On postoperative day 7, according to VAS, pain ranged from 0 to 10, with a mean of 2.05 ± 0.31; regarding characteristics, it was continuous in 32.1% of the cases, and retrosternal in 26.8%. On postoperative day 28, pain ranged from 0 to 3, with a mean of 0.17 ± 0.08, 7.1% of mechanical rhythm and 5.4% upper posterior."

Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 1806-3713

J. bras. pneumol. vol.34 no.3 São Paulo Mar. 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our data confirmed that sympathectomy in patients with EPH results in a disturbance of bronchomotor tone and cardiac function

Our study was composed of patients affected by EH, and

thus having a dysfunction of sympathetic activity. The

observed respiratory and clinical effects would probably not

be observed in healthy individuals.

(ii) The cardio-respiratory effects were observed 6 months after

operation. However, a longer postoperative period would

be required to determine if they are long-term effects.

(iii) The number of patients was too limited, thus our results

should be corroborated by larger studies.


Our data confirmed that sympathectomy in patients with

EPH results in a disturbance of bronchomotor tone and

cardiac function.

  1. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg
    doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezs071

Monday, December 22, 2014

Acute pain following needlescope-VATS (nVATS) sympathectomy for palmar hyperhidrosis

"...recently Sihoe et al. [10] have reported that pre-emptive wound infiltration with a local anaesthetic reduces the postoperative wound pain following needlescope-VATS (nVATS) sympathectomy for palmar hyperhidrosis. The concept of pre-emptive analgesia has gained popularity following
experimental work, demonstrating that early control of pain can alter its subsequent evolution as well as the recognition that nociception produces important physiological responses, even in adequately anaesthetised individuals, and the understanding that for many individuals the minimisation of pain can improve clinical outcomes [11].
The pre-emptive analgesia is based on the intuitive idea that if pain is treated before the injury occurs, the nociceptive system will perceive less pain than if analgesia is given after the injury has already occurred. The preoperative administration of analgesic will modify the afferent nociceptive barrage from the site of injury, thus preventing the development of central sensitisation and hyperalgesia [12].
Thus, we have focussed on this argument in the aim of the present study, which is to determine whether pre-emptive local analgesia (PLA) has an effect to reduce acute postoperative pain following standard-VATS (s-VATS) sympathectomy, in view of n-VATS being considered less painful
than the s-VATS procedure [4,5]."
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 37 (2010) 588—593
Pre-emptive local analgesia in video-assisted thoracic surgery sympathectomy

Alfonso Fiorelli, Giovanni Vicidomini, Paolo Laperuta, Luigi Busiello,
Anna Perrone, Filomena Napolitano, Gaetana Messina, Mario Santini*
Thoracic Surgery Unit, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
Received 28 March 2009; received in revised form 21 July 2009; accepted 31 July 2009; Available online 12 September 2009

sympathicotomy may cause a temporary impairment of the caudal-to-rostral hierarchy of thermoregulatory control and changes in microcirculation

Patients with palmar hyperhidrosis have been reported to have a much
more complex dysfunction of autonomic nervous system, involving compensatory high parasympathetic activity as well as sympathetic overactivity (13, 14), suggesting that sympathicotomy initially induces a sympathovagal imbalance with a parasympathetic predominance, and that this is restored on a long-term basis (14). Therefore, thoracic sympathicotomy may cause a temporary impairment of the caudal-to-rostral hierarchy of thermoregulatory control and changes in microcirculation.

The reduction of finger skin temperature on the non-denervated side may be due to either a decrease in the cross-
inhibitory effect or the abnormal control of the inhibitory fibers by the sudomotor center (6).
Vasoconstrictor neurons have been found to be largely under the inhibitory control of various afferent
input systems from the body surface, whereas sudomotor neurons are predominantly under excitatory
control (15). The basic neuronal network for this reciprocal organization is probably located in the spinal level (15). Therefore, the reduction in the contralateral skin temperature may be explained by cross-inhibitory control of various afferent in the spinal cord.
In particular, our study showed that, following bilateral T3 sympathicotomy, the skin temperatures on
the hands increased whereas the skin temperatures on the feet decreased. These findings suggest a
cross-inhibitory control between the upper and lower extremities. However, the pattern of skin
temperature reduction on the feet differed from that on the contralateral hand. The skin temperature on
the feet did not decrease after right T3 sympathicotomy but decreased significantly after bilateral T3

Saturday, December 13, 2014

functional abnormality detected in the small airway of patients who underwent bilateral dorsal sympathectomy to treat primary hyperhidrosis is still present 3 years after surgery

The main observation of our study was that the functional abnormality detected in the small airway of patients who underwent bilateral dorsal sympathectomy to treat primary hyperhidrosis is still present 3 years after surgery, although the patients remain clinically asymptomatic.
Studies to date evaluate alterations in lung function at 1, 3, and 6 months after sympathectomy. Only 1 recent study provides data 1 year after surgery. Ponce González et al10 studied a group of 37 patients who underwent forced spirometry before surgery, and at 3 months and 1 year after surgery. They observed a decrease in FVC, FEV1, and FEF25%-75% at 3 months, although FVC returned to baseline values at 12 months, whereas FEV1 and FEF25%-75% remained significantly low (-2.8% and -11.2%, respectively). These findings are consistent with ours, and corroborate the persistence of minimal bronchial obstruction 3 years after surgery. This appears to be associated with the influence of the sympathetic nervous system on bronchomotor tone.
As previously mentioned, the airway is innervated mainly by the parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic innervation, although scant, indirectly affects motor tone and could have caused the mild residual obstructive pattern after surgery. Despite the doubtful role of the sympathetic nervous system in the lung, a series of physiologic studies show the effect of sympathetic nervous activity after bilateral dorsal sympathectomy.11,12 The first was by Noppen and Vincken4, who compared the results of lung function studies (spirometry, diffusion, and lung volumes using plethysmography) in 7 patients before dorsal sympathectomy performed using VATS, at 6 weeks, and at 6 months (previous studies had been performed using invasive techniques [thoracotomy]). A statistically significant decrease was observed in FEV1, FEF25%-75%, and total lung capacity 6 weeks after surgery. At 6 months, the authors again evaluated the 35 patients and found that total lung capacity had returned to normal values, whereas FEF25%-75% remained low. They attributed the permanent decrease in FEF25%-75% to the sympathetic denervation produced by surgery, and stressed that, in patients with primary hyperhidrosis, bronchomotor tone is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system. This contrasts with the common opinion that motor tone in the airway is not affected by this system. Both the study by Ponce González et al,10 who evaluated their patients at 1 year, and our study, in which we evaluated patients at 3 years, show that persistence of the decrease in FEF25%-75% over time is related more to sympatholysis of the ganglia than to VATS.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Evidence based medicine is broken | The BMJ

"How many people care that the research pond is polluted,5 with fraud, sham diagnosis, short term data, poor regulation, surrogate ends, questionnaires that can’t be validated, and statistically significant but clinically irrelevant outcomes? Medical experts who should be providing oversight are on the take. Even the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Cochrane Collaboration do not exclude authors with conflicts of interest, who therefore have predetermined agendas.6 7 The current incarnation of EBM is corrupted, let down by academics and regulators alike.8"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"sympathectomy, although having varying results, does seem to increase the severity of autoimmune disorders"

Allostasis - a state of imbalance responsible for Autoimmune disorders

In general, enhancing the sympathetic tone decreases both T0-cell and NK cell functions but not the proliferation of splenic B cells (Dowdell and Whitacre, 2000). In contrast, chemical sympathectomy, although having varying results, does seem to increase the severity of autoimmune disorders (Dowdell and Whitacre, 2000)
As far as metabolism, catecholamines promote mobilization of fuel stores at time of stress and act synergistically with glucocorticoids to increased glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, and lipolysis but exert opposing effects of protein catabolism, as noted earlier. One important aspect is regulation of body temperature (Goldsttein and Eisenhofer, 2000) Epinephrine levels are also positively related to serum levels of HDL cholesterol and negatively related to triglycerines. However, perturbing the balance of activity of various mediators or metabolism and body weight regulation can lead to well-known metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

At the same time, increased sympathetic activitation and nerephinephrine release is elevated in hypertensive individuals and also higher levels of insulin, and there are indications that insulin further increases sympathetic activity in a vicious cycle (Arauz-Pacheco et al.,1996)

As a result of either local production, cytokines often enter the the circultion and can be detected in plasma samples. Sleep deprivation and psychological stress, such as public speaking, are reported to elevate inflammatory cytokine level in blood (Altemus et al., 2001) Circulting levels of a number of inflammatory cytokines are elevated in relation to viral and other infections and contirbute to the feeling of being sick, as well as sleepiness, wiht both direct and indirect effects on the central nervous system (Arkins et al., 2000; Obal and Kueger, 2000)

Inflammatory autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes, reflect an allostatic state that consists of at least three principal causes: genetic risk factors, (...) factors that contribute to the development of tolerance of self-antigens (...) and the hormonal mikieu that regulates adaptive immunes responses (Dowdell and Whitacre, 2000)

Allostasis, homeostasis and the costs of physiological adaptation

By Jay SchulkinCambridge University Press, 2004

Allostasis is the process of achieving stability, or homeostasis, through physiological or behavioral change. This can be carried out by means of alteration in HPA axishormones, the autonomic nervous systemcytokines, or a number of other systems, and is generally adaptive in the short term [1]

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Similar low values are observed in patients with sympathectomy and in patients with tetraplegia"

"Patients with progressive autonomic dysfunction (including diabetes) have little or no increase in plasma noradrenaline and this correlates with their orthostatic intolerance (Bannister, Sever and Gross, 1977). In patients with pure autonomic failure, basal levels of noradrenaline are lower than in normal subjects (Polinsky, 1988). Similar low values are observed in patients with sympathectomy and in patients with tetraplegia. (p.51)

The finger wrinkling response is abolished by upper thoracic sympathectomy. The test is also abnormal in some patients with diabetic autonomic dysfunction, the Guillan-Barre syndrome and other peripheral sympathetic dysfunction in limbs. (p.46)

Other causes of autonomic dysfunction without neurological signs include medications, acute autonomic failure, endocrine disease, surgical sympathectomy . (p.100)

Anhidrosis is the usual effect of destruction of sympathetic supply to the face. However about 35% of patients with sympathetic devervation of the face, acessory fibres (reaching the face through the trigeminal system) become hyperactive and hyperhidrosis occurs, occasionally causing the interesting phenomenon of alternating hyperhidrosis and Horner's Syndrome (Ottomo and Heimburger, 1980). (p.159)

Disorders of the Autonomic Nervous System
By David Robertson, Italo Biaggioni
Edition: illustrated
Published by Informa Health Care, 1995
ISBN 3718651467, 9783718651467"

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Sympathectomy is a destructive procedure that interrupts the sympathetic nervous system

Cervico-thoracic or lumbar sympathectomy for neuropathic pain | Cochrane Summaries: "Sympathectomy is a destructive procedure that interrupts the sympathetic nervous system. Chemical sympathectomies use alcohol or phenol injections to destroy sympathetic nervous tissue (the so-called "sympathetic chain" of nerve ganglia). Surgical ablation can be performed by open removal or electrocoagulation (destruction of tissue with high-frequency electrical current) of the sympathetic chain, or by minimally invasive procedures using thermal or laser interruption. Nerve regeneration commonly occurs following both surgical or chemical ablation, but may take longer with surgical ablation.

This systematic review found only one small study (20 participants) of good methodological quality, which reported no significant difference between surgical and chemical sympathectomy for relieving neuropathic pain. Potentially serious complications of sympathectomy are well documented in the literature, and one (neuralgia) occurred in this study.

The practice of sympathectomy for treating neuropathic pain is based on very weak evidence. Furthermore, complications of the procedure may be significant."

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stellate ganglion block alleviates anxiety, depression

Among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment with a single stellate ganglion block could help alleviate anxiety, depression and psychological pain rapidly and for long-term use, according to results presented at the American Society for Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting.
Researchers performed a single right-sided stellate ganglion block (SGB) using 7 mL of 2% lidocaine and 0.25% bupivacaine under fluoroscopic guidance on 12 veterans with military-related, chronic extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with hyperarousal symptoms. At baseline, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months post-block, PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) score and the Post-traumatic Stress Self Report (PSS-SR) scale. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory version 2. Anxiety related symptoms with a generalized anxiety scale score and the State-Trait Anxiety Index and psychological pain with the Mee-Bunney scale.
Study results showed the block was greatly effective in 75% of participants, with a positive effects taking effect often within minutes of SGB. At week 1, there was significant reduction of both CAPS and PSS-SR and researchers found CAPS approached normal-to-mild PTSD levels by 1 month. Anxiety, depression and psychological pain scores also were significantly reduced by the block, according to study results. Overall, positive effects remained evident at 3 months, but were generally gone by 6 months.
Alkire MT. A1046. Presented at: American Society for Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting;  Oct. 11-15, 2014; New Orleans.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hemodynamic changes in vertebral and carotid arteries were observed after sympathicotomy for hyperhidrosis

T3 sympathicotomy segment was the most frequent transection done (95.83%), as only ablation (25%) or in association with T4 (62.50%) or with T2 (8.33%). It was observed increase in RI and PI of the common carotid artery (p < 0.05). The DPV of internal carotid artery decreased in both sides (p < 0.05). The SPV and the DPV of the right and left vertebral arteries also increased (p < 0.05). Asymmetric findings were observed so that, arteries of the right side were the most frequently affected.
CONCLUSIONS: Hemodynamic changes in vertebral and carotid arteries were observed after sympathicotomy for PH. SPV was the most often altered parameter, mostly in the right side arteries, meaning significant asymmetric changes in carotid and vertebral vessels. Therefore, the research findings deserve further investigations to observe if they have clinical inferences.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

24-hour melatonin measurements in normal subjects and after peripheral sympathectomy

 1991 Apr;72(4):819-23.

Sequential cerebrospinal fluid and plasma sampling in humans: 24-hour melatonin measurements in normal subjects and after peripheral sympathectomy.


Simultaneous measurements of plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) melatonin and urinary excretion of 6-hydroxymelatonin were performed in four normal volunteers and one patient before and after upper thoracic sympathectomy for the control of essential hyperhidrosis. For normal individuals, hourly 24-h melatonin concentrations in plasma and CSF exhibited similar profiles, with low levels during the day and high levels at night. Peak plasma levels varied from 122-660 pmol/L, and the peak CSF levels from 94-355 pmol/L. The onset of the nocturnal increase in melatonin did not occur at the same time for each individual. Urinary 6-hydroxymelatonin levels also exhibited a daily rhythm, with peak excretion at night. The individual with the lowest nocturnal levels of circulating melatonin also had the lowest excretion of 6-hydroxymelatonin. In the patient with hyperhidrosis, a prominent melatonin rhythm was observed preoperatively in the CSF and plasma. After bilateral T1-T2 ganglionectomy, however, melatonin levels were markedly reduced, and the diurnal rhythm was abolished. These results provide direct evidence in humans for a diurnal melatonin rhythm in CSF and plasma as well as regulation of this rhythm by sympathetic innervation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Permanent pain following sympathectomy

The mean inpatient pain scores were significantly higher in the biportal group (1.2±0.6) than that in the uniportal group (0.8±0.5, P=0.025). For the first three weeks after operation, four out of 20 (20%) patients in the uniportal group constantly suffered from mild or moderate residual pain while eight out of 25 (32%) cases in the biportal group (P=0.366). Among them, two cases in the uniportal group and five cases in the biportal group need to take analgesics.
Chinese Medical Journal, 2009, Vol. 122 No. 13 : 1525-1528

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sympathetic chain ganglia are responsible for delivering information to the rest of the body regarding stress situations and the fight or flight response

Sympathetic chain ganglia are responsible for delivering information to the rest of the body regarding stress situations and the fight or flight response. These sympathetic ganglia are the structures that are destroyed during a sympathectomy.


Author: Association of Surgical Technologists
Edition: 003
Product Type: Book w/Multimedia (CD, DVD or Electronic)
ISBN 13: 9781418051686
ISBN 10: 1418051683
Copyright: 2008

The so called 'compensatory sweating' is NOT compensatory:

"When patients with intense CH are analyzed, we observe that the amount of released sweat seems to be much greater than was that occurring at the primary hyperhidrosis location, not translating a simple compensation or sweating transference from one site to the other. Therefore, this hyperhidrosis seems to be reflex, mediated neurologically in the sweating regulatory center in the hypothalamus.

In order to avoid this neurologically mediated reflex, the sympathetic afferents to the hypothalamus should be restored, allowing negative feedback to block the efferent projection of the sweating regulatory center on the periphery.(14) Therefore, only the reinnervation of the sectioned sympathetic chain could recover this reflex."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

significant adverse effects on cardiopulmonary physiology

Because of technologic advances and improved postoperative recovery, endoscopic surgery has become the technique of choice for many thoracic surgical procedures6and 25; however, endoscopic visualization of intrathoracic structures requires retraction or collapse of the ipsilateral lung, which can have significant adverse effects on cardiopulmonary physiology. These cardiopulmonary changes can be further affected by the pathophysiologic changes associated with the disease process requiring the surgical procedure.

Because acute changes in cardiopulmonary function can compromise patient safety severely, a clear understanding of the dynamic interaction between the anesthetic–surgical technique and patient physiology is essential. This article discusses the effect of thoracoscopic surgery and the impact of various anesthetic interventions on cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology. In addition, some recommendations for “damage control” are made.
Anesthesiology Clinics of North America
Volume 19, Issue 1, 1 March 2001, Pages 141-152

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Postsympathectomy pain of such severity that parenteral narcotics afforded no relief

Fifty-six consecutive patients who subsequently underwent ninety-six lumbar sympathectomies were studied prospectively with regard to the development of postoperative pain. Pain after operation was observed in thirty-four extremities by twenty-five of the patients (35 per cent). It began abruptly an average of twelve days after operation and was often accentuated nocturnally. The pain was almost always described as a deep, dull ache and persisted two to three weeks before spontaneously remitting. Postsympathectomy pain of such severity that parenteral narcotics afforded no relief developed in two of these fifty-six patients and in nine additional patients. Treatment with carbamazepine produced dramatic reduction in the intensity of pain in seven of these nine patients within twenty-four hours after the institution of therapy. Two patients were given intravenous diphenylhydantoin and both experienced immediate relief of pain. The mechanisms of the syndrome and of the action of these drugs are uncertain.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Patients with surgical sympathectomies have low plasma levels of DA and NE [49], whereas EPI:NE ratios are increased

Patients with surgical sympathectomies have low plasma levels of DA and NE [49], whereas EPI:NE ratios are increased (unpublished observations), suggesting decreased sympathetically mediated exocytosis and compensatory adrenomedullary activation.

Catecholamines 101, David S. Goldstein
Clin Auton Res (2010) 20:331–352

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The mechanisms by which sympathectomy leads to increased local bone loss is unknown

In vivo effects of surgical sympathectomy on intra... [Am J Otol. 1996] - PubMed - NCBI: "Am J Otol. 1996 Mar;17(2):343-6.

In vivo effects of surgical sympathectomy on intramembranous bone resorption.
Sherman BE1, Chole RA.
Author information
1Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, USA.
Bone modeling and remodeling are highly regulated processes in the mammalian skeleton. The exact mechanism by which bone can be modeled at a local site with little or no effect at adjacent anatomic sites is unknown. Disruption of the control of modeling within the temporal bone may lead to various bone disease such as otosclerosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, Paget's disease of bone, fibrous dysplasia, or the erosion of bone associated with chronic otitis media. One possible mechanism for such delicate control may be related to the ubiquitous and rich sympathetic innervation of all periosteal surfaces. Previous studies have indicated that regional sympathectomy leads to qualitative alterations in localized bone modeling and remodeling. In this study, unilateral cervical sympathectomy resulted in significant increases in osteoclast surface and osteoclast number within the ipsilateral bulla of experimental animals. The mechanisms by which sympathectomy leads to increased local bone loss is unknown. Potential mechanisms include disinhibition of resorption, secondary to the elimination of periosteal sympathetics, as well as indirect vascular effects."