What Is ETS Surgery? My Experience Going Under the Knife
What Is ETS Surgery?
ETS surgery is an overactive sweat gland treatment where a doctor severs or clamps off some of the nerves that trigger sweat events. Typically used to treat hyperhidrosis (or excessive sweating), the removal of sweat glands is intended to stop spontaneous sweating.
Growing up with cranial hyperhidrosis, I noticed sweat bands around my head when I was about 12 years old. Prior to that, I was a regular kid.
One experience changed everything for me. I was on a bus headed to church camp, sitting next to a girl I had a crush on. We stopped at a gas station, and when I got out of the van, sweat was covering my chest and pouring from my head — even though it was cold out.
I was horrified. Some kids on the shuttle were staring and asked, "Are you OK? What’s wrong?” I always hated getting those questions.
That’s when I knew something was wrong. I was sweating like a faucet. From that point, I became overly self-conscious because I realized stress events triggered my extreme sweat. Imagine being 13 and trying to comprehend that. I had no idea what was going on.
Discovering Hyperhidrosis Surgery
By high school, I figured out ways to get around those stressful situations. Eventually, I saw a billboard ad for sweaty palms, so I called the number and explained my situation. This doctor (who practices out of Orange County, CA.) said he had the perfect solution: ETS surgery.
At the time (around 2000), the procedure was new. I wasn’t aware of the side effects nor did the physician address them. While he glanced over some of the more serious side effects, I assumed this was your standard disclaimer for any procedure. I was desperate to solve my hyperhidrosis.
Sweating After Surgery & More ETS Side Effects
Come surgery day, I was only in the operating room for about an hour. Immediately after the ETS procedure, I started experiencing episodes of phantom sweating. I felt like I was sweating bullets but was completely dry.
Being on pain medication, I didn’t feel much for about a week. But around day 8 or 9 after the procedure, I noticed sweat begin to appear on my chest and torso, which never happened before.
As time went by, my chest and torso sweat got out of control — to the point where I wore two undershirts daily. I feared something was wrong, so I went back to the physician. He explained compensatory sweating was a side effect of the ETS procedure, and some people experienced sweating after surgery. Of course, I wasn’t aware of the possibility of compensatory sweating, which was just as bad or worse than cranial hyperhidrosis.
For instance, awkward sweat patches would appear on my chest, which eventually grew to my shoulder blade — the strangest place to sweat. Beyond that, I noticed a downshift in my energy and decision-making. I took longer to make trivial decisions and would second-guess myself, which I never did before. The surgery also affected my metabolism and awareness.
My ETS Surgery Review
To this day, undergoing ETS surgery is possibly the worst decision I’ve ever made. The side effect of sweating after surgery didn’t improve my life — it worsened it.
For people reading this, do your homework. While times have changed and the procedure has become more precise, there’s no turning back. I underwent nerve cutting, not clamping, which has no reversal. You really have to think about that. With so much more information and products like Thompson Tee to help your hyperhidrosis, exhaust all options before considering hyperhidrosis surgery. One thing to keep in mind is you’re not alone.
I always thought I was a freak. Now there are hyperhidrosis groups, international organizations and pharmaceutical companies focused on sweat solutions. Most of these are Band-Aids, but they can improve your quality of life.
Hyperhidrosis and the solutions available are evolving. As this series continues, we’ll expose and address more issues in this sweaty world of hyperhidrosis.
Stay tuned to hear more about the effects of ETS surgery.