Reviewed by Andrew Seibert on December 08, 2011
Daniel Miller, MD, Kamal A. Mansour Professor of Thoracic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine. WebMD Medical Reference: Hyperhidrosis and Sweating: When Should You See a Doctor?
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Amanda Mills, Hyperhidrosis Patient: I'm excited to be going into this, because I know when I wake up tomorrow I won't have sweaty hands or sweaty feet.
Narrator: Her mom, Eileen, knows exactly what she'll go through. She had the surgery about a year ago.
Eileen Mills, Amanda's Mother: My husband was real apprehensive about Amanda having this done, and I said Doug, you don't know what it's like. It has changed my life, and I want, I don't want her to have to suffer like I did.
Narrator: Like her mother, Amanda has hyperhidrosis-- excessive sweating not caused by anxiety or elevated temperatures.
Amanda Mills, Hyperhidrosis Patient: Whenever I had a problem with it, I would go tell her, mom, my hands are sweating. She was like I know, mine are too.
Eileen Mills, Amanda's Mother: Oh, I hated it. I thought oh know, I can't believe that I've given this to my daughter.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: So what we're going to be doing today is called a micro thorascopic sympathectomy.
Narrator: Dr. Dan Miller was the first surgeon in the U.S. to do this surgery using a single incision.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: CO2 on please, you can ventilate the patient please.
Narrator: CO2 is used to move the lungs gently out of the way, giving Dr. Miller easy access to the nerve responsible for sweating in the hands
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: So this the second rib and we're going to treat her hands. Here's the end of the nerve, right here. And here's the other end right here. A nice separation there.
Narrator: And that's it. Amanda's right side is done. The C02 is released… The incision is closed…
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: That's her dressing, it will stay on about 3-5 days….
Narrator: and Dr. Miller repeats the procedure on the left rib.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: She might have a little accessory nerve here, so we're going to get this. Very important to see these accessory nerves called the nerve of Kuntz, and if you don't get those, they could have a recurrence because of that.
Narrator: Waiting anxiously in the hall, Amanda's parents know she could also suffer a common surgical side effect: compensatory sweating.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: It usually occurs in the lower back, the trunk, the back of the legs and so forth.
Narator: For Amanda, a slight case of compensatory sweating would be a small price to pay for dry hands. Remembering what life was life before her surgery, her mom agrees.
Eileen Mills, Amanda's Mother: Mine was to the point where it was dripping off my hands, and I would just you know, rub my hands on my pants. I sort of built a little shell around myself just to, so I wouldn't have to meet people and shake hands with them. But, I had immediate relief when I woke up from the surgery.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: It took us about 20 minutes, and uh, she'll go to the recovery room for about 30 or 45 minutes, and then she'll be able to go home from there. The results are immediate, so in the recovery room, her hands will be warm and dry.
Eileen Mills, Amanda's Mother: How are you? Good.
Dan Miller, MD, Chief, Thoracic Surgery, Emory University: Warm and toasty. You have nice dry warm hands.
Eileen Mills, Amanda’s Mother: I'm glad it's over with. I'm happy for her.
Narrator: For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.