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Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy Surgery (ETS)

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What is an Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy?

An ETS is a surgical procedure in which a portion of nerves in the thoracic region, usually in the chest, are severed in order to ‘switch off’ the body’s excessive sweating.

The principles behind the procedure are similar to that of the Botulinum Toxin injections, by which the localised nerves are rendered unserviceable in order to stop them releasing the chemicals that trigger sweat glands to produce sweat. However, ETS surgery has a lasting effect when compared to the semi-permanent nature of Botulinum Toxin treatment.


ETS is thought to be a very effective way of treating hyperhidrosis in the upper body, particularly in the hands. It is estimated that ETS significantly reduces excessive sweating of the hands by 95%, and whilst still effective, slightly less beneficial to those suffering from hyperhidrosis of the underarms where the success rate drops to 85%.

ETS is also thought to help resolve the associated issues of excessive sweating in the long-term, with 93% of participants in one study that followed patients for 15 years following surgery, advising that their hyperhidrosis was completely cured.

Who Should Conduct an Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy?

An ETS should be carried out by a fully qualified surgeon who is assisted by a team of nurses and/or anaesthesiologists. The requirement for these personnel is simply due to the necessity for an ETS to be carried out under a general anaesthetic, and the complexity and delicacy of the surgery itself.

Without the appropriate medical personnel, an ETS can go drastically wrong.

intravenous fluids


Are There Any Side Effects?

One of the most significant side effects of ETS is ‘compensatory sweating’ which refers to an increased amount of sweating in another area of the body.

Whilst this side effect may seem to undermine the purpose of an ETS, the extent to which an individual will compensatory sweat is often significantly less than the original excessive sweating.

Moreover, due to the nature of the surgery, an ETS subsequently carries the risks associated with a general anaesthetic, including:

  • Temporary memory loss.
  • Dizziness.
  • Bruising or soreness from the IV drip.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Shivering.

Other potential issues associated with ETS surgery include:

  • Pain.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Horner’s Syndrome (droopy eyelids).
  • Punctured lung(s).
  • Scarring.
  • Infection.

The above symptoms are not all-inclusive and other side effects may occur. If you are experiencing any of the above, or any other side effects after receiving an ETS, you should call your doctor for medical advice. If these symptoms persist, it is advised that they are also reported to the practitioner who carried out the procedure.


The treatment for side effects resulting from an ETS procedure will vary hugely, depending on the side effect experienced. Contacting a doctor or other qualified medical professional is the best idea to ensure that you receive the correct advice and treatment you may need.

Long-term Complications Prognosis

Untreated, the side effects of ETS could cause severe issues in the long-term and may require further operations to treat those issues later.

For example, issues resulting from injuries to chest structures during surgery may require follow-up surgery with a plastics specialist to repair the initial damage and restore any lost functions. Along with the physical suffering, additional surgery and/or treatments can have a negative effect on the mental health of a patient.



How Do I Make a Claim?

If you have experienced any of the symptoms discussed, you should first seek medical advice.

If you wish to pursue a claim, we will require details (where possible) of the practitioner or company who carried out the procedure, details of the dates this was undertaken and details of what symptoms you are experiencing.

We would also advise that you report the side effects to the practitioner or company who carried out the procedure. We can then assess the prospects of your claim and look to obtain compensation for the injury.

How Long Will My Case Take to Run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Cosmetic Surgery claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude, and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.

We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How Much is My Claim Worth?

It is often difficult to value cosmetic claims at their outset given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

Firstly, we will pursue compensation known as general damages – an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries.

Secondly, we will pursue compensation known as special damages – an award of money for all your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why Use Oakwood Solicitors to Make Your Cosmetic Surgery Case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of cosmetic negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

How is My Case Funded?

The majority of Cosmetic cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a “no-win, no fee” agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has been obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Charities/Useful Websites

Hyperhidrosis UK

Save Face


If you have been negatively affected by Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy surgery, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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