Palmar skin blood flow and temperature responses throughout endoscopic sympathectomy

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17 Scopus citations


Thoracic surgical sympathectomy is often performed to treat primary palmar and axillary hyperhidrosis. An increase in palmar skin temperature is frequently used to identify the success of the procedure. Because changes in palmar skin temperature occur secondary to changes in skin blood flow, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that monitoring palmar skin blood flow would provide greater temporal resolution relative to monitoring palmar skin temperature. In 11 patients with palmar and/or axillary hyperhidrosis, we measured palmar skin temperature and blood flow (via laser Doppler flowmetry) throughout the sympathectomy procedure. Five minutes after the initial cautery, skin blood flow increased from 48 ± 7 perfusion units to 121 ± 17 perfusion units (P < 0.001), whereas no significant change in temperature was observed (31.0°C ± 0.5°C to 31.3°C ± 0.5°C; P > 0.05). The time required to reach peak skin blood flow (22 ± 3 min) was significantly less than the time required to reach peak skin temperature (34 ± 0.3 min; P < 0.001). Finally at 5, 10, and 15 min after the initial cautery, skin blood flow increased to a larger percentage of the total increase in skin blood flow relative skin temperature (all P < 0.006). These data suggest that monitoring skin blood flow provides greater temporal resolution when compared with monitoring skin temperature during thoracic sympathectomy. However, the initial cautery of the parietal pleura over the ganglion may result in increases in skin blood flow before physical disruption of the ganglion. This occurrence may limit the utility of skin blood-flow measurements in identifying the success of the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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