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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Complications of endoscopic sympathectomy - hypoxia, hypotension, haemothorax, pneumothorax

"there are some potentially serious anaesthetic sequelae. Despite the use of various analgesic techniques, including intrapleural bupivacaine and systemic opioids, postoperative chest pain is a common and distress- ing feature, with a duration of 12 hours or more.
In a recent prospective study of 58 patients undergoing this procedure, Jedeikin et al reported hypoxia (with an arterial oxygen saturation of 70%) and hypotension (with decrease in arterial pressure to <50mmHg) as uncommon but important complications.
'These events maybe the result of compression of the mediastinum and major vessels by carbondioxide insufflation. In addition, during bilateral procedures, lesser degrees of hypoxia were common place with deflation of the lung on the second side, despite apparently adequate reinflation of the first lung. 15%  of patients had pneumothorax and 7% required underwater drainage for haemothorax or pneumothorax."


BMJ VOLUME 306 26JUNE1993 

It has been shown in animals that sympathectomy of one side of the body leads to an increase in the development of tumors on the denervated side

Coujard R, Heitz F. Cancerologic: Production de tumeurs malignes consecutives a des lesions des fibres sympathiques du nerf sciatique chez le Cobaye. C R Acad Sci 1957; 244: 409-411. 

Besedovsky H, DelRey A, Sorkin E, DaPrada M, Keller H. Immunoregulation mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. Cellular Immun 1979; 48:346-355. 

Stein-Werblowsky R. The sympathetic nervous system and cancer. Exper Neuro 1974; 42:97-100. 

Delrey A, Besedovsky H, Sorkin E, DaPrada M, Arrenbrecht S. Immunoregulation mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, II. Mol Immunol 1981; 63:329-334.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

in the absence of autonomic arousal, behavior that appears emotional will not be experienced as emotional

"In the presence of a barking dog, for example, the sympathectomized cats manifested almost all of the signs of feline rage. Finally, Cannon notes the report of Dana (1921) that a patient with a spinal-cord lesion and almost totally without visceral sensation still manifested emotionality.
For either the Jamesian or the present formulation such data are crucial, since both views demand visceral arousal as a necessary condition for emotional arousal. When faced with this evidence, James's defenders (e.g., Wenger, 1950; Mandler, 1962) have consistently made the point that the apparently emotional behavior manifested by sympathectomizied animals and men is well-learned behavior, acquired long before sympathectomy. There is a dual implication in this position: first, that sympathetic arousal facilitates the acquisition of emotional behavior, and second, that sympathectomized subjects act but do not feel emotional. There is a small but growing evidence supporting these contentions. Wynne and Solomon (1955) have demonstrated that sympathectomized dogs acquire an avoidance response considerably more slowly than control dogs. Further, on extinction trials most of their 13 sympathectomized animals extinguished quickly, whereas not a single one of the 30 control dogs gave any indication of extinction over 200 trials. Of particular interest are two dogs who were sympathectomized after they had acquired the avoidance response. On extinction trials these two animals behaved precisely like the control dogs - giving no indication of extinction. Thus, when deprived of visceral innervation, animals are quite slow in acquiring emotionally-linked avoidance responses and in general, quick to extinguish such responses." (p. 163)

"A line of thought stimulated by the Wynne and Solomon (1955) and the Hohmann (1962) studies may indeed be the answer to Cannon's observations that there can be emotional behavior without visceral activity. From the evidence of these studies, it would appear, first, that autonomic arousal greatly facilitates the acquisition of emotional behavior but it is not necessary for its maintenance if the behavior is acquired prior to sympathectomy; and second, that in the absence of autonomic arousal, behavior that appears emotional will not be experienced as emotional." (p. 167)

Psychobiological Approaches to Social Behavior

P. Herbert LeidermanDavid ShapiroHarvard Medical School. Dept. of PsychiatryUnited States. Office of Naval Research - 1964 - 203 pages