Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) of the hands and armpits can be a disabling problem for up to 3% of the population. Excessively damp or wet hands can have a devastating effect during personal, academic and professional activites.

Western Toronto Thoracic Associates

Axillary Hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating of the armpits can lead to problems with:


  • Embarassment due to sweat stains under armpits.
  • Frequent changing of shirts during hot weather.
  • Wearing dark clothing to hide sweat stains.
  • Unpleasant sensation of damp/moist shirts.
  • Inabilty to wear light clothing due to staining with sweat.

Western Toronto Thoracic Associates

Palmar Hyperhidrosis

Excessive sweating of the palms can lead to problems with:


  • Pen/pencil slips out of hands.
  • Sweating smears ink on written work, rendering it illegible.
  • Paper becomes moist and rips.


  • Inability to effectively perform tasks involving manual dexerity (typing, filing, working with tools/instruments).


  • Fear/anxiety of shaking hands, meeting new people.
  • Embarassment.


Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy

Is a safe and effective minimally invasive surgical procedure that can provide permanent relief from palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. The signal to sweat is carried by two nerves that lie within the thoracic cavity- the right and left sympathetic chain. If the signal to sweat is interrupted, the hands and armpits will then be unable to sweat effectively.

This procedure is carried out using two 0.5 cm incisions on each side of the chest cavity. The nerves are dissected and clips are then applied to prevent sweating from occuring. this procedure is 85-90% effective for sweating in the hands and armpits, see references.

After your initial consultation, you and your surgeon will decide if this procedure is right for you. Often, a surgical date can be decided upon your initial consultation. The surgery takes approximately 1 hour to perform. You will be discharged on the same day of surgery. Recovery time varies from an average of 3 days to a maximum of 1 week.


Thoracoscopic sympathetic clipping for hyperhidrosis: long-term results and reversibility.
J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Jun;137(6):1370-6; discussion 1376-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2009.01.008.

Sugimura H1, Spratt EH, Compeau CG, Kattail D, Shargall Y.