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, March 27, 2011

Secondary Effects of Sympathectomy - Disturbance of Sexual Function

If a portion of the autonomic nervous system is removed to modify a specific disease process, unrelated physiologic mechanisms will also be affected. The degree to which these other mechanisms may be affected often governs the selection of operative procedures. The results produced by interfering with mechanisms other than those for which the operation is performed might be designated as side-effects or secondary effects. . . .
N Engl J Med 1951; 245:121-130July 26, 1951