Excessive underarm sweating can be treated with suction curettage, which removes the sweat glands and only takes one hour to perform meaning you can go home straight away. It is commonly compared to liposuction procedures but it is different as no fat is taken away, only the sweat glands under the skin are removed. This provides a permanent reduction in underarm sweating and is reserved for those patients when anti sweating injections do not provide the desired result.
Suction curettage is considered a treatment just for excessive armpit sweating. For most people, it results in a reduction in sweating of 70-85% and the treatment is a permanent.
HOW IS AXILLARY SUCTION CURRETTAGE PERFORMED?
An experienced medical doctor can only perform axillary suction curettage. A tumescent anesthetic solution is injected into the skin, usually consisting of lignocaine, adrenaline and sodium chloride. Light sedation such as laughing gas is also used. A small incision is made into each axillae, and a cannula will be inserted to scrape and vacuum the sweat glands. The cannula is small, and this is used to scrape away the sweat glands from the underside of the skin. After the surgery, bandages will be applied and patients will receive antibiotics and instructions for care. You are advised not to drive after the procedure especially if light sedation is used.
WHAT TO EXPECT
There may be some mild discomfort, swelling or limited mobility at the incision sites for up to two weeks. Bandages should be changed daily, and antibiotics are usually scheduled for 5 days after the surgery. After 7 days, the wound is assessed. Dr Patel will discuss all side effects such as bleeding or pain. Patients should limit their activity, especially sports and exercise for at least two weeks. After one month patients are evaluated for reduction in excess sweating. The evaluation can be repeated in 6 and 12 months time. The aim of this treatment is not to completely get rid of all sweating as some sweat glands that remain may still produce sweat and there is a 2-5% chance a second procedure might be needed after 6-12 months. However the sweat glands that are removed will remain so permanently and you can expect 80% reduction from your pre-treatment sweating.
FOUR FACTS ABOUT SWEAT GLAND REMOVAL
While axillary suction curettage enjoys a high success rate in curing excessive underarm sweating, there are a number of potential things that you should factor into your decision:
1. Minor Scarring
Axillary suction curettage is a relatively simple procedure. Nevertheless it may leave a minor scar at the incision sites.
2. Hematomas and Seromas
Hematomas are a form of bruise resulting from a clogged concentration of blood cells, and seromas, a pocket of bodily fluid (plasma, mucus) under the skin, are risks of virtually any surgery. However, they are generally not serious and easy to treat if they develop.
3. Wound Contracture
A wound contracture is when a wound heals in such a way to impede the normal function of the skin. Contracture is a normal part of the healing process, so this impeded function may start about 7 days after the surgery and last 5-15 days thereafter and can be avoided by doing regular arm stretching exercises.
4. Wound Infection
A potential risk of any surgery is wound infection, which is why your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to take for a minimum of 7 days after the procedure. You can reduce your risk for infection by taking antibiotics as prescribed.
Remember the aim of this type of treatment is not to completely stop you sweating. Underarm sweating will be reduced by 70-80% and bring you into "normal" amount of sweating. In very rare instances (<5%) the procedure may not produce the desired result and may need to be repeated.