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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The effect of cervical sympathectomy on retinal vessel responses to systemic autonomic stimulation

The retinal vessel calibre responses to systemic sympathetic stimulation, were studied in nine patients (eight male; mean age: 31.7 years; range: 19-58 years) with unilateral disruption of their cervical sympathetic tract. All patients had ipsilateral decreased/absent facial sweating and a Horners syndrome, evidence of unilateral sympathetic denervation. Both eyes of each patient were studied and the results were analysed in two groups: the group of nine sympathectomised eyes and the control group of unaffected fellow eyes. During handgrip contraction there was a significant difference in the mean retinal arteriolar constriction (mean +/- SEM) between the group of sympathectomised eyes (4.6 +/- 0.89%) and control eyes (7.1 +/- 1.13%), p less than 0.01. Similarly, there was a significant difference in mean venule constriction during sustained handgrip contraction between the group of sympathectomised eyes (1.5 +/- 0.67%) and control eyes (4.9 +/- 0.98%), p less than 0.05. There was no significant difference in the mean rise in diastolic blood pressure between the two groups: control eyes +27.9 +/- 2.38 mmHg and sympathectomised eyes +27.8 +/- 2.25 mmHg. There was no correlation between the blood pressure and retinal vessel responses in either group. These results suggest that the sympathetic nervous system plays an integral role in retinal blood flow regulation.

Inflammation after a spinal cord injury (SCI) is nonresolving

Inflammation after a spinal cord injury (SCI) is nonresolving, and can be characterized by quantification of lymphocytes using resolution indexes (Ri) and resolution plateaus (Rp), according to an experimental study published online March 22 in Brain Pathology.

Harald Prüss, M.D.,

It is possible that sympathectomy affects non-immunological processes involved in tumor progression, such as extravasation, development of blood supply

Lacrimal gland, tear film, and dry eye syndromes 2: 

basic science and clinical relevance
Front Cover


Gustatory sweating on the head, neck and arms, often occurs after cervico-thoracic sympathectomy. Haxton (1948) reported an incidence of 36 percent, the same as in the present series. It was thought that some information about regeneration in the cervical sympathetic might be revealed by investigation of this surgical curiosity.
Although sweating is the common gustatory response after cervical sympathectomy, other changes are experienced. Haxton (1948) described associated paresthesia and flushing, gooseflesh may occur (Herxheimer, 1958) and vaso-constriction is reported in this paper. These occur together or separately and occasionally sweating might be absent. The subject has been confused by comparison with post-parotidectomy gustatory sweating which has a different mechanism (Glaister et al.,1958; Bloor, 1958).

Sweating is produced by cholinergic sympathetic fibres. In normal individuals both vasocontriction and gooseflesh are adrenergic. This also holds in gustatory responses.  Figure 2 shows blocking of sweating by atropine, whilst gooseflesh continues unchanged.
   The tingling sensations were described as being unlike normal sensation, and likened to plucking out of hair. In one patient in was so unpleasant that she refused to take a test stimulus. Flushing usually occurs on the upper chest and neck, and is an erythema with sharp demarcation, not associated with a rise in skin temperature.
   Of the patients, 29 were found to have gustatory responses, and 24 were studied in detail. Of 22 patients with sweating who could be studied, 11 had gooseflesh, 10 tingling, 6 flushing, and 4 vasoconstriction. Four patients, however, had no sweating and their gustator responses consisted of gooseflesh and tingling in one, tingling alone, and flushing in two. None of these four showed vasoconstriction.
   The stimulus for testing used was usually Worcester sauce, but specificity of the response was sometimes great, and one patient reacted only to boiled sweets made by one particular firm.   &

The development of gustatory sweating after cervical sympathectomy can only be explained if one is to admit that the primary event of gustatory sweating is a degeneration of the cervical sympathetic neurons. The initial event is the loss of postganglionic sympathetic neurons and the resulting denervation of the corresponding facial sweat glands. Regeneration of parasympathetic fibers, within the degenerating sympathetic neurilemmal sheets, is a secondary event although it accounts for the observed symptoms.

Salivary gland disorders

Front Cover
Springer, 2007 - Medical - 517 pages

Friday, April 22, 2011

cervical sympathectomy works systemically through hypothalamus endocrine system

Background: To investigate the general action of stellate ganglion block (SGB), we examined the effects of heat stimulation and cold stress on the behavior and stress hormone of the bilateral cervical sympathectomy rats as a long-term and repeated SGB model. Methods: Wistar's male rats were divided into three groups: control (C), sham operation (S) and sympathectomy (Sx) groups. After 2 weeks, two experiments were done. One was measurement of escape response time from the heat stimulus and the other was hormone measurement. Serum adreno-corticotropic hormone (ACTH), .ALPHA.-melanocyte stimulating hormone (.ALPHA.-MSH) and .BETA.-endorphine (.BETA.-END) levels were measured assigning 3 groups to 2 subgroups with and without cold stress. Results: Escape response time was significantly extended in the Sx group. ACTH in the Sx group was significantly higher than in other groups, but changes of ACTH by cold stress were similar in 3 groups. In the Sx group .ALPHA.-MSH was hardly changed by cold stress while .ALPHA.-MSH was significantly decreased in the S group. Changes of .BETA.-END by cold stress were similar in the S and Sx groups. Conclusions: These results suggest that SGB works systemically through hypothalamus endocrine system and affects stress hormone differently. (author abst.)