09 August 2007

Hope for heavy sweating

People who suffer from excessive armpit sweating may find relief with a minimally invasive surgical procedure, a study suggests.

People who suffer from excessive armpit sweating may find relief with a minimally invasive surgical procedure, a study suggests.

Really sweaty 'pits, technically known as focal axillary hyperhidrosis, can cause "serious emotional and social problems," say Dr Falk G. Bechara and colleagues from Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

They treated 51 such patients with "suction-curettage" to remove sweat glands in the armpits. The process is somewhat akin to liposuction, in that a cannula is inserted under the skin and suction applied - in this case to remove sweat glands rather than fat.

Before the treatment, the quality of life of the patients was significantly below normal, as evidenced by relatively high pre-treatment scores on a standard index. The average score before treatment was 12, and ranged from 9 to 18.

63% improvement
Nine months following suction-curettage, the average score dropped to 4, with a range of 2-8. That translates to a 63 percent improvement, Bechara and colleagues report.

Thirty-five patients reported a sweat reduction of 75 percent or more, and 13 reported a 50-75 percent reduction.

"Patient satisfaction with the surgical procedure was high, with 78.4 percent of the patients being very or completely satisfied with suction-curettage," the team found.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, August 2007. – (Reuters Health)

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August 2007


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Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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