Author(s): Robertson DP, Simpson RK, Rose JE, Garza JS
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Abstract Sympathetic nerve disorders of the upper extremities can be treated by neurosurgeons using upper thoracic sympathectomy via a posterior approach. Descriptions have been published of alternative endoscopic procedures involving thermocoagulation, laser coagulation, or nonvideo-assisted ganglionectomy using equipment not widely available, with low morbidity and excellent results. The authors describe the use of an endoscopic approach to the thoracic sympathetic ganglia with systems designed for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Thoracic ganglionectomy is reported in 22 patients with primary palmar hyperhidrosis and eight patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The patients underwent double-lumen endotracheal intubation, after which 11- and 5.5-mm trocars were introduced into the chest cavity. Pneumothorax was produced with CO2 insufflation. Fiberoptic closed-circuit television was used to visualize the structures to be dissected. The parietal pleura over the heads of the first and second ribs was excised using 5-mm blunt and sharp insulated coagulating microscissors. The stellate and upper thoracic ganglia were clearly identified and dissected. The T-2 and T-3 ganglia were grasped with forceps and excised. A No. 16 French chest tube was introduced through a trocar, placed under water seal after the lungs were reinflated, and removed in the recovery room. The average hospital stay was 15.4 hours. There were no intraoperative complications. The average operating time was 30 minutes per side. Five patients had mild pleuritic pain which resolved within 2 weeks after surgery. Six (75\%) of the eight patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy had complete or partial relief of their symptoms (average follow-up period 5 months), and all patients had complete relief of hyperhidrosis (average follow-up period 8 months). Endoscopic ganglionectomy requires readily available and easily used instrumentation and provides a well-tolerated, cost-effective alternative to posterior thoracic sympathectomy for primary palmar hyperhidrosis and reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
This article was published in J Neurosurg
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief