Background Axillary hyperhidrosis is based on a continuous, symmetric sweating of axillae that often leads to emotional distress and occupational disability. It affects 0.6–1% of younger people in the western world. When topical treatment doesn’t relieve the sweating, surgical botulinum toxin treatment, which prevents calcium-dependent acetylcholine release from the sympathetic sweat glands, is an attractive alternative to ganglion sympathectomy. Last year, fifteen patients took this treatment in the Thoracic Surgery service of our hospital.
Purpose To investigate how the quality of life changes after botulinum toxin surgery in axillary hyperhidrosis patients, as a way to qualitatively assess its effect.
Materials and methods Patient information was collected from our hospital databases. In October 2013, using a standardised dermatological life-quality questionnaire (DLQI, Finlay & Khan), we asked patients ten questions by phone covering their emotional, clinical, interpersonal and work issues before and after surgery. Finally, we performed a Shapiro-Wilk test (normality) on SPSS and a paired Student’s t-test (comparing means).
Results Data were gathered from ten patients (seven women, average age of 35.4 ± 6.69). For six of them, the disease started in childhood; and for the remaining four after puberty or in their early twenties. All of them had tried aluminium-based products, with no results. Using a scale of 30 points (the higher the score, the worse the quality of life), the average score decreased by 16 ± 2.82 points (p-value < 0.001, from 19.4 before surgery to 3.4 after). This reduction was marked in all issues considered except for interpersonal relationships (positive opinion before and after). All but one mentioned a significant decrease in sweating, which now only happens when practicing sports.
Conclusions Despite the effect only lasting for about six months, botulinum toxin surgery clearly improves quality of life in axillary hyperhidrosis patients, who are satisfied with the intervention and were keen to repeat it when the effect disappears.
No conflict of interest.
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