1.1 Current evidence on the efficacy and safety of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) for primary facial blushing is adequate to support the use of this procedure with normal arrangements for clinical governance, consent and audit.
1.2 Clinicians wishing to undertake ETS for primary facial blushing should ensure that patients understand the risks of the procedure. In particular they should explain that:
there is a risk of serious complications
hyperhidrosis is usual after the procedure: this can be severe and distressing and some patients regret having had the procedure (especially because of subsequent and persistent hyperhidrosis)
the procedure sometimes does not reduce facial blushing.
Clinicians should also provide patients considering the procedure with clear written information.
1.3 In view of the risk of side effects this procedure should only be considered in patients suffering from severe and debilitating primary facial blushing that has been refractory to other treatments.
1.4 This procedure should only be undertaken by clinicians trained and experienced in thoracic endoscopy, and there should be the capacity to deal with intraoperative complications.
1.5 Further research into ETS for primary facial blushing should include clear information on patient selection and should seek to identify which patient characteristics might predict severe side effects. All complications should be reported. Outcomes should include measurements of efficacy, including quality of life and social functioning both in the short and long term, and in particular the frequency and severity of compensatory hyperhidrosis.