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Health-related quality of life after thoracoscopic sympathectomy for palmar hyperhidrosis.

BACKGROUND: Palmar hyperhidrosis is a benign functional disorder regarded as a psychological and social handicap. Improvement of the quality of life is a major goal of treatment. However, little attention has been given to quality of life after thoracoscopic sympathectomy, which is the first line of treatment for palmar hyperhidrosis. This study investigated the impact of thoracoscopic sympathectomy on subjective health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and psychological properties.

METHODS: Forty patients who underwent thoracoscopic sympathectomy were followed up for 6 months. The HRQoL measures were the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS). Patients were administered these questionnaires before procedure and then again at 1, 3, and 6 months after sympathectomy.

RESULTS: A comparison between the current sample and Japanese normative data for the SF-36 showed mild impairment of HRQoL before sympathectomy. However, it also showed significant improvement of the social functioning domain after sympathectomy. While there was worsening of the bodily pain and role physical domains 1 month after sympathectomy, both domains recovered in 3 months. The results of STAI showed significant improvement of both trait and state anxiety after sympathectomy. However, the results of SDS showed patients remained neurotic.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to show the pattern of impairment in health status and therapeutic impact in palmar hyperhidrosis patients. Hyperhidrosis is associated with impaired HRQoL. It was also demonstrated that thoracoscopic sympathectomy is safe, minimally invasive, and improves HRQoL, even if compensatory hyperhidrosis occurs.

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