Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 31, Issue 11, pp 4357–4369 | Cite as

Optimal targeting of sympathetic chain levels for treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis: an updated systematic review

  • Hai-Wei Sang
  • Guo-Liang Li
  • Peng Xiong
  • Ming-Chuang Zhu
  • Min ZhuEmail author



Palmar hyperhidrosis involves excessive sweating of the palms, with no known etiology. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a safe and effective treatment for palmar hyperhidrosis, but compensatory hyperhidrosis is a common complication after ETS, leading to reduced patient satisfaction and postoperative quality of life. However, the appropriate level of the sympathetic chain to target with ETS to achieve maximum efficacy and reduce the risk of compensatory hyperhidrosis (CH) is controversial. In this systemic review, we investigated the appropriate level of sympathectomy for palmar hyperhidrosis.


PRISMA guidelines were implemented to complete a systematic review. We performed a computerized systematic literature search using PubMed and EMBASE from January 1990 to July 2016. We chose the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool and the methodological index for non-randomized studies tool for examining study bias.


A total of 4075 citations were identified, of which 91 were eligible for inclusion, including 68 observational studies and 23 comparative trials. In observational studies, sympathectomies showed similar efficacies for curing PH at different levels. However, T2-free groups (i.e., at levels T3, T4, or T3–T4 combined) could render a lower risk of Horner’s syndrome (0 vs. 1.21 ± 0.49%, p = 0.036) and CH (28.75 ± 7.25 vs. 57.46 ± 3.86, p = 0.002) compared with T2 involved. In comparative trials, there were 12 studies describing the comparison between T2-free ETS and T2 involved, and 9 of 12 (75%) showed T2-free ETS could reduce the incidence of CH. Overall, lowering the level and limiting the extent of sympathectomy could reduce the incidence of complications.


Cumulative data from more than 13,000 patients suggest that ETS is a safe, effective, and reproducible procedure with a high degree of patient satisfaction. Currently available evidence suggests that T2-free ETS may reduce the incidence of compensatory hyperhidrosis without compromising success rates and safety.


Palmar hyperhidrosis Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) Compensatory hyperhidrosis Immediate success rate Horner’s syndrome 



This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81172786) and Youth Chenguang project of Science and Technology of Wuhan City (Grant No. 201050231077).

Compliance with ethical standards


Hai-Wei Sang, Guo-Liang Li, Peng Xiong, Ming-Chuang Zhu and Min Zhu have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Supplementary material

464_2017_5508_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 43 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hai-Wei Sang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guo-Liang Li
    • 1
  • Peng Xiong
    • 1
  • Ming-Chuang Zhu
    • 1
  • Min Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Thoracic Surgery, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Thoracic SurgeryFirst Affiliated Hospital of Bengbu Medical CollegeBengbuChina

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