Hyperhidrosis (Excessive arm pit sweating)
Southern California Plastic Surgery Group
Do I have this condition?
Excessive arm pit sweating is actually very common. Many people have it but are afraid to admit it to their friends and loved ones. People affected by this disorder often go through great lengths to conceal their condition. They wear two or three shirts or blouses at a time. They often carry several changes of clothing in their cars, or have clothes stashed at work. Some people shower three of four times per day. They often carry several different types of deodorant and antiperspirants. Often there is a strong odor associated with underarm sweating, though in some cases there is not. More than eight million people suffer from this disorder which is characterized by uncontrollable under arm sweating. There is also a group of people who have sweaty palms as well, however our discussion will only deal with under arm sweating.
What causes this condition?
There are several theories, but no one knows for sure. Some believe that there is an excessive amount of sweat glands in the arm pit. Others believe that there is an increase of nerve stimulation which causes excessive sweating.
How is this condition treated?
There are several methods used to treat this disorder. They range from deodorants to Botox to surgical procedures which include cutting nerves in the neck which supply stimulation to sweat cells in the arm pit. Each procedure gives some relief, but now there is a new and improved method of reducing arm pit sweating. It involves a relatively simple and safe procedure called Vaser obliteration of underarm sweat glands, or VOUSG. VOUSG is a relatively new procedure which can be performed under local anesthesia and is very effective in reducing the amount of underarm sweating.
What exactly is VOUSG?
VOUSG is an advanced state of heart ultra sound technique that was originally developed as a form of liposuction. This technology was found to not only kill fat cells, but sweat gland cells as well. The Vaser is applied directly underneath the arm pit skin to reduce the amount of viable sweat gland cells.
How effective is this treatment?
VOUSG is very effective. Just as in the Vaser ultrasonic liposculpture, a dilute saline (salt water solution) and epinephrine is applied in the axilla. A small ultrasonic probe is then placed underneath the arm pit skin and sound waves are transmitted through the wetting solution. The energy transmitted is used to obliterate the sweat gland cells. Afterwards, the excess wetting solution along with the destroyed sweat gland cells are removed with liposuction.
What results should I expect?
Most people have a significant reduction in sweating. Afterwards, there is usually a very mild discomfort. Patients are able to return to work within a few days. There is minimal down time since the procedure can be done under local anesthesia. However, if you prefer, general anesthesia can also be safely used for those who do not like shots. After the procedure, most patients are placed on mild antibiotics and pain medicine. Some however, do not require any pain medication.