Liposuction Surgery for Excessive Sweating

  • Best ResultsImmediate
  • Treatment Recovery4-7 days
  • Procedure Time60 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistDr Davin Lim
  • Duration of ResultsLifetime
  • AnaestheticSedation
  • Back to Work3-7 days
  • Cost$$$

Liposuction Surgery for Excessive Sweating

There are many surgical procedures to destroy the sweat glands in the armpit. Liposuction is the most effective as it removes 60-80% of glands. Recovery is faster than Miradry & just as effective. ETS is another form of surgery that involves cutting nerves that supply sweat glands. Read more to understand.

FactsFacts on surgery for sweat glands

  • Surgical procedures can only be performed on the armpit areas
  • Excessive sweating of the hands and feet cannot be treated this way
  • Surgery can also be aimed at interruption of signals which initiates sweating a procedure called ETS
  • Localised destruction of sweat glands involves curettage, laser, excision and liposuction
  • Surgical procedures have been replaced with anti-sweat injections. A rebate applies for treating excessive sweating in the armpit area by a dermatologist

What types of sweat gland surgery are there?

Sweat gland surgery can be divided into two types.

Localised destruction / liposuction of the sweat glands

This was one of the first techniques employed to reduce the number of sweat glands in an area. Techniques employed include excision of the sweaty areas, liposuction, curettage and laser of sweat units. Localised destruction of sweat glands can only be performed in the armpit area.

ETS or endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy

This involves interruption of the transmission of sympathetic nerves to the sweat glands. This procedure is conducted by Vascular Surgeons. More on ETS for sweat glands

What is liposuction removal of sweat glands?

The logic behind liposuction involves using a suction device to remove a layer of fat under your skin. Eccrine glands, also known as sweat glands, dwell in this layer. This procedure was popular in the late 1990s, and early 2000s, however in the past decade sweat gland liposuction has been replaced with sweat stopping treatments injections (BTX). 

Anti-sweat injections have superior results, less risks and no down time compared to liposuction. Liposuction of sweat glands does have the advantage that if successful, scarring is minimal, and results are long lasting, without the need for injections twice a year.

Another technique employed to destroy sweat glands in the armpit area is called the “curettage and suction sweat gland method.” During this procedure a suction tube is used in conjunction with a curette to scrape the under surface of the armpit area, removing and sucking sweat glands from the armpit.

I occasionally perform this procedure. The ideal patient has enough padding or adipose tissue in the axillae as this offers a safer plane for liposuction.

What does excision of sweat glands involve?

This is an outdated technique used in the 1970s and 1980s to remove sweat glands. Unfortunately, some surgeons still performed this procedure in the early 2000s. This surgical procedure for sweat glands seemed logical at the time and involved surgical removal of the armpit vault, including any underlying sweat glands. The procedure was successful in over 60% of cases, however most patients had significant contracture scarring because of this procedure.

Surgery of the armpits is not performed in this day and age and is of historical significance only.

What is laser liposuction?

Laser destruction of sweat glands is a new technique performed in the United States. This technique can be used for excessive armpit sweating and combines liposuction with erbium laser. Laser energy is used to liquefy the fat in which the eccrine or sweat glands dwell, and liposuction is used to remove the debris of sweat glands, and fat. I do use a very similar technique with bipolar RF & liposuction. I am not a fan of using heat in thin areas as it can lead to more scarring. 

Davin’s Viewpoint on Surgery for Sweat Glands

Surgery for sweat glands pioneered sweat reduction in the 1970s, initial techniques were primitive, but in a way effective. This involved excision of the sweat gland areas of the armpit, but the downside was the high incidence of scarring.

This technique was largely replaced by liposuction of the armpit area, followed by laser-lipo technique pioneered in the United States. With laser-lipo, success rates in the order of 75% can be expected. Most patients opt for a less invasive procedure, namely sweat stopping treatments injections to the armpit. The success rate is in the order of 95%, side-effects are minimal, but most importantly, a Medicare rebate enables patients to claim a significant amount back. Results generally last 6-8 months.

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