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

Monday, July 16, 2012

Management of reflex sweating in spinal cord injured patients

Reflex sweating can be a problem for cervical spinal cord injured patients. Patient comfort and skin breakdown have been the major concerns. Five patients were studied prospectively, using a patch containing 1.5mg of scopolamine. Patches were changed every third day. Each patient was carefully monitored before and after application of the patch for signs and symptoms of anticholinergic side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision and dry mouth. Patients were also monitored for changes in patch signs before and after use, including residual urine volumes, blood pressure, heart rate, and mental status. Our study indicates that topical scopolamine successfully controlled reflex sweating in 5 patients without anticholinergic side effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]