A new surgical technique is using the umbilicus, better known as the belly button, as a port of entry for a procedure to help fight excessive sweating. While the surgery, known as thoracic sympathectomy is not new, the access to the nerves that control the excessive sweating certainly is.
In a study published last month*, Chinese researchers describe their novel technique as well as the results from patients post-surgery. While general anesthesia was still required, only a small 5 mm incision was performed.
The study involved a total of 35 individuals and results were determined one year after the surgical procedure. The success rate was higher for palmar (hand/palm) than axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis (97% vs 72%).
While quality of life improved and most were satisfied with the results, compensatory sweating remained a problem in close to 30% of individuals. Compensatory sweating is a condition often associated with thoracic sympathectomy. While the surgery is able to curb the sweating from a specific region (e.g. palms of the hands), it will develop in another area such as the groin. Feel free to visit our page on compensatory sweating for more information on this condition.
* Zhu, LH et. al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 2014