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

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Botulinum Toxin: A Treatment for Compensatory Hyperhidrosis in the Trunk

Severe compensatory hyperhidrosis (CH) in the trunk occurs after sympathectomy in some patients. Limited treatment options for these cases have been proposed, and the overall results have been disappointing, but injection of botulinum toxin-A (BTX-A) is an emerging, reliable treatment method for focal hyperhidrosis.

Being female or male is a predisposing factor for severe 'compensatory' sweating

Compensatory sweating (CS) appeared in 55% and was not related to the extension of the TS. Being female was a predisposing factor of CS (p<0.004). Excessive dryness appeared at 9% and was associated with extensive TS (P<0.001). Plantar hyperhidrosis improved at 33.6%, worsened at 10% and remained stable during the follow-up. Satisfaction degree decreased with the passage of time and was associated with recurrence.

He also asserts that with experience he has become better at predicting which patients are more likely to get it (uptight, overweight men).
John van Tiggelen, interviewing Dr Roger Bell in Melbourne. Article published on the 10h of March, 2012 in the Good Weekend Magazine

Monday, March 12, 2012

It’s not unusual to hear people who have undergone sympathectomies describe themselves as feeling emotionally “colder” than before

It’s not unusual to hear people who have undergone sympathectomies describe themselves as feeling emotionally “colder” than before. Among psychologists and neurologists alike there is concern, but no evidence, that the procedure limits alertness and arousal as well as fear, and might affect memory, empathy and mental performance. Professor Ronald Rapee, the director of the Centre of Emotional Health at Sydney’s Macquarie University, says he’s counselled several people who complain of feeling “robot-like” in the long-term wake of the operation. “They’re happy they no longer blush, but they miss the highs and lows they used to feel.”
(John van Tiggelen, Good Weekend Magazine, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, 10th March 2012)
Full text of the article available here: