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Micro-Invasive Endoscopic Sympathectomy

UPMC Content 3

What Is an Endoscopic Sympathectomy?

An endoscopic sympathectomy is a minimally invasive spine surgery used to treat:

  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Facial blushing
  • Social phobia
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

This procedure also treats other conditions caused by portions of the sympathetic nerve trunk in the spine being destroyed.

The sympathetic nerve trunk is divided into three sections:

  • Cervical (neck area)
  • Thoracic (chest area)
  • Lumbar (lower back area)

Endoscopic sympathectomy can be used to treat all three regions. This state-of-the-art procedure allows for a quicker and more comfortable recovery for patients when compared to traditional spine surgeries.

What to expect during endoscopic sympathectomy

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the back, where two small instruments will be inserted. An endoscope allows the surgeon to view the area, and a dissecting tool is used to clamp off the problem nerves.

This procedure clamps nerves rather than removing them, allowing the surgeon to reverse the procedure if side effects are too bothersome for the patient. Though the need for reversal is rare, using clamps gives patients this option.

After endoscopic sympathectomy surgery

Most patients leave the hospital within hours after the surgery and typically have a minimal recovery period. Most patients can return to their normal activity within days of the surgery.​