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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Autonomic neuropathy in the skin following sympathectomy

In diabetics with the anhidrotic syndrome, autonomic nerve fibres were studied in skin biopsies using argentic techniques and light microscopy. The Minor test was used to differentiate normal from anhidrotic skin areas. In the anhidrotic areas, histology of the nerve fibres showed beading, spindle-shaped thickening and fragmentation adjacent to the sweat glands. These changes were similar to those observed in two patients who had previously undergone lumbar sympathectomy. No abnormalities of the sympathetic nerve endings could be found in biopsies taken from normal areas of the forearm of the same patients. We conclude that the diabetic anhidrotic syndrome, a form of diabetic autonomic neuropathy, is due to a lesion of the sympathetic nerve supply to the skin.
I. Faerman1, E. Faccio3, I. Calb2, J. Razumny1, N. Franco2, A. Dominguez2 and H. A. Podestá1