Jeff, 44, has had hyperhidrosis, sweating of the hands, since the age of three. He and his identical twin brother have been dealing with the physical and social affects of having sweaty hands for as long as they can remember. In 1982 at the age of 22, Jeff decided to try a radical new procedure called a dorsal sympathectomy. In this procedure, the neurosurgeon makes an incision approximately six to seven inches long down the center of the patient’s back. The surgeon, after removing the first rib, then attempts to locate the sympathetic nerve, sever it and hopefully reduce the patient’s hyperhidrosis.
After this procedure, Jeff was in the hospital for five days, in pain and with a host of new problems, including Horner’s eye (droopy eye), Bell’s Palsy, facial blushing and his hands continued to sweat.
“I thought I was messing with Mother Nature,” Jeff said. “I thought it was a sign that I should live with the sweating.”
As Jeff grew older, he learned different coping mechanisms for his sweating hands. He discovered while participating on the high school wrestling team that if he depleted his body of liquid, the sweating would almost disappear. As an adult, he continued this process before meetings so his hands would not sweat.
“ When the surgery failed, I resolved that this was my destiny, “Jeff said.
His sweating prevented him from playing pool, continuing guitar lessons, and playing tennis. As a safety measure, Jeff always wore gloves when doing electrical work around the house.
“It really affected all parts of my life,” Jeff said.
A hereditary syndrome, Jeff’s cousin and nephew as well as his own teenage daughter, also suffer from hyperhidrosis. Watching his daughter go through the same anxiety that Jeff experienced made him realize that something had to be done.
“My heart goes out to my daughter, Jeff said. “She is just starting the dating years and it brings back so many memories of my high school years.”
Jeff began researching new technologies and medicines and found Dr. David Nielson on the Internet. He chose Dr. Nielson after reading about his past surgical success with “re-dos.” Many hyperhidrosis patients come to Dr. Nielson after undergoing a sympathectomy that didn’t work. After consulting with Dr. Nielson, these patients undergo his Micro ETS procedure and awake with dry hands.
“I knew if anyone could help, it would be Dr. Nielson, " Jeff said. “There are other doctors who say they do the same surgery, but I knew Dr. Nielson was the one.”
Jeff flew into San Antonio and underwent the Micro ETS surgery. While in surgery, Dr. Nielson found that Jeff’s lungs were extremely scarred from the previous surgery. But Dr. Nielson, who is known to be tenacious, kept working with his microscopic tools to get through the scar tissue, reach the sympathetic nerve and related Kuntz nerves, and severed them to instantly treat Jeff’s sweating.
“It’s amazing,” Jeff said after returning back to Illinois. “I keep anticipating that I am going to start sweating but I don’t. Even in church when we are holding hands, my daughter is amazed at how dry my hands are.”
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