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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 January-February;55(1-2):17-24


language: Italian

Videothoracoscopic sympathectomy in the treatment of Raynaud’s disease and palmar hyperhidrosis

Trignano M., Boatto R., Mastino G. P., Ferrandu T., Padula G., Loi V., Pala C.


Background and aim. Raynaud's syndrome is a clinical entity characterised by episodic vascular spasm, digital ischemia in response to cold or emotional stimuli and hyperhidrosis. Many patients suffering from Raynaud's syndrome are successfully treated using medical therapy alone. Those patients who do not respond to medical treatment undergo surgery but the indications continue to be a source of controversy. A modern approach to thoracic sympathectomy requires a video-assisted technique. The aim of this study is to attempt to use mini-invasive type surgery to treat Raynaud's disease and hyperhidrosis in order to evaluate the real efficacy of thoracic sympathectomy in a large number of patients. The results of this method were compared for the two different pathologies in question. Methods. The methodology used by this study is based on instrumental and clinical tests performed before and after surgery on treated patients using a comparative criterion and with a minimum 5-year follow-up. The pre- and postoperative diagnostic tests were performed by the vascular surgery laboratory and using a C.W. Doppler and a reflected light photoplethysmograph. Capillaroscopy and laboratory evaluations relating to secondary Raynaud's disease were carried out by internist type structures. The patients enrolled in the study responded to the following criteria: primary Raynaud's disease, palmar hyperhidrosis and associated syndromes. The population came from a mixed sociodemographic background, albeit within a strictly regional zone (Sardinia). A total of 42 patients were studied. The surgical technique used consisted of the ablation of thoracic ganglia from the 2nd to the 4th. Results. The results showed a resolution of symptoms in 95% of patients treated for hyperhidrosis, whereas a 50% recidivation rate was observed in patients with Raynaud's disease alone, although symptoms were less intense. The results for Raynaud's disease were more disappointing, but it is importantto remember that surgery is the ultimate choice for cases with advanced lesions which do not respond to medical treatment. Under these circumstances, the possibility of halting the evolution of the pathology represents an auspicable achievement. Conclusions. The authors affirm that mini-invasive surgical treatment of hyperhidrosis was resolutive during a mean follow-up of 3 years. It therefore represents a valid method which causes minimum esthetic damage to the patient and the greatest functional benefit. The post-operative period is short (about 3 days) and free of major complications. There is virtually no post-surgical pain.

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