Information for the public

What has NICE said?

This procedure is safe enough and works well enough for use in the NHS.

But doctors must make sure patients understand that:

  • the risk of serious complications

  • a very common side effect is to start sweating a lot elsewhere on the body, which can be distressing

  • some people regret having the procedure, especially because of the sweating elsewhere on the body

  • sometimes the procedure doesn't work.

Because of the risk of side effects, only patients with very severe sweating that is seriously affecting their everyday life, and which hasn't responded to other treatments, should consider having this procedure.

Only doctors trained and experienced in operating in the chest cavity using an endoscope should carry out treatment. There should also be the right staff and equipment to deal with any complications.

More research on this procedure is needed, to try to predict who is most likely to benefit and how side effects might be avoided.

What does this mean for me?

Your doctor should fully explain what is involved in having this procedure and discuss the possible benefits and risks with you. In particular, they should explain the risks listed above. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure.

Your doctor may ask you if details of your procedure can be collected.

Other comments from NICE

NICE said that there are different ways to do this procedure and this may affect how well it works and how safe it is. It said that the procedure is mainly used to treat severe sweating from the palms. It is not as clear whether it helps with severe sweating from the underarms. NICE heard from some people who said they were very distressed because of the side effects of this procedure.

  • Information Standard