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

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sympathetic chain clipping for hyperhidrosis is not a reversible procedure

RESULTS Ten days after clipping, all sympathetic chains displayed evident Wallerian degeneration. Twenty days after clipping, Wallerian degeneration of myelinated fibers was more widespread and also more striking. Thirty days after clipping, a very marked macrophagic reaction was visible, with multiple signs of phagocytosis of myelin debris. By 30 days post operation and 20 days after clip removal, a few residual myelin and amyelinated fibers were visible. These findings suggest that axon regeneration is not possible. CONCLUSIONS There are Wallerian degeneration and axon loss 10 days after clipping. The almost total absence of myelinated and amyelinated fibers following clip removal suggests that there was no nerve regeneration, and that therefore clipping cannot be considered a reversible technique.

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Intense pain, reduced inspiratory capacity following sympathectomy

Postgraduate Program in Anesthesiology, Botucatu School of Medicine, UNESP, Bauru, SP, Brazil.
PURPOSE To compare analgesia traditionally used for thoracic sympathectomy to intrapleural ropivacaine injection in two different doses. METHODS Twenty-four patients were divided into three similar groups, and all of them received intravenous dipyrone. Group A received intravenous tramadol and intrapleural injection of saline solution. Group B received intrapleural injection of 0.33% ropivacaine, and Group C 0.5% ropivacaine. The following aspects were analyzed: inspiratory capacity, respiratory rate and pain. Pain was evaluated in the immediate postoperative period by means of the visual analog scale and over a one-week period. RESULTS In Groups A and B, reduced inspiratory capacity was observed in the postoperative period. In the first postoperative 12 hours, only 12.5% of the patients in Groups B and C showed intense pain as compared to 25% in Group A. In the subsequent week, only one patient in Group A showed mild pain while the remainder reported intense pain. In Group B, half of the patients showed intense pain, and in Group C, only one presented intense pain. CONCLUSION Intrapleural analgesia with ropivacaine resulted in less pain in the late postoperative period with better analgesic outcomes in higher doses, providing a better ventilatory pattern.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On a metabolic basis, 'autosympathectomy' influences neural and muscle structures and leads also to peripheral vasodilatation

Radiology of Peripheral Vascular Diseases: With 198 Tables

 edited by Eberhard Zeitler, Ernst Ammann
Springer, 2000 - Medical - 712 pages

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Brachial plexopathy is another well recognised but not much publicised side-effect of sympathectomy

Brachial plexus dysfunction (brachial plexopathy) is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to the brachial plexus, an area on each side of the neck where nerve roots from the spinal cord split into each arm's nerves.
Damage to the brachial plexus is usually related to direct injury to the nerve, stretching injuries (including birth trauma), pressure from tumors in the area (especially from lung tumors), or damage that results from radiation therapy.
Brachial plexus dysfunction may also be associated with:
  • Birth defects that put pressure on the neck area
  • Exposure to toxins, chemicals, or drugs
  • General anesthesia, used during surgery
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as those due to a virus or immune system problem
In some cases, no cause can be identified.


  • Numbness of the shoulder, arm, or hand
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling, burning, pain, or abnormal sensations (location depends on the area injured)
  • Weakness of the shoulder, arm, hand, or wrist