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Minerva Psichiatrica 2007 December;48(4):379-86

language: Italian

Psychologic evaluation of patients undergoing dorsal sympathicotomy for the treatment of bilateral palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis

Raposio E. 1, Puricelli O. 2, Canini E. 1, Iacoviello P. 1, Menoni S. 3, Santi P. L. 1

1 U.O. di Chirurgia Plastica DICMI, Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova
2 Psicoterapeuta, IST, Genova
3 Sezione di Biostatistica DISSAL, Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova


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Aim. Hyperhidrosis is an autonomic nervous system disease occurring as an excessive perspiration localized generally in palmar, axillary and plantar areas. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if and how the surgical procedure improves the quality of life as well as to verify the onset of compensatory sweating.
Methods. We have submitted, by phone, a closed-answer questionnaire (composed of 29 items) to a group of 77 patients operated by endoscopic transthoracic dorsal sympathicotomy for the treatment of bilateral palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis. Our purpose has been to evaluate the satisfaction about surgical operation’s results and of possible changes in self-perception, quality of life and social relationships. To analyze data, we have used the Wilcoxon statistic test and the Mann-Whitney U-test.
Results. The tests showed a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-surgical data. Anxiety and neurosis had higher median variations than emotional lability and depression that, however, had significative changes. The median values were, generally, higher in women than in men. Twenty-four percent of patients had compensatory sweating, usually in the abdomen and lower limbs. However, this complication has been interpreted as an improvement compared to the initial condition.
Conclusion. Most patients declared to feel better in regard to relationships with unknown people. No patients with compensatory sweating interpreted this collateral effect as a damage. In our opinion, according to the data obtained, endoscopic transthoracic dorsal sympathicotomy significantly improves the quality of life of treated patients.

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