Suction curettage: the classic surgery for excessive underarm sweating

Removing the underarm sweat glands

To remove the sweat glands in the armpits, there are 3 sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures: exci­sion, curet­tage, and suc­tion curet­tage. Because suc­tion curet­tage is cur­rent­ly the most com­mon and most promis­ing sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure for treat­ing exces­sive sweat­ing in the armpits, we will describe this treat­ment option in detail here. All 3 meth­ods can only be used against under­arm sweat­ing.

Minimally invasive removal of sweat glands

Suc­tion curet­tage is, as the name sug­gests, a com­bi­na­tion of curet­tage and suc­tion. This means that the sweat glands in the under­arm area are excised and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly suc­tioned off. For this pur­pose, a spe­cial can­nu­la is intro­duced into the armpit area via three small inci­sions. Since only minor injuries to the skin and soft tis­sue are caused by this sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure, suc­tion curet­tage is con­sid­ered a min­i­mal­ly inva­sive sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure.

The pro­ce­dure can be per­formed on an out­pa­tient basis and with tumes­cent anaes­the­sia. After the treat­ment, the inci­sions are sealed with a but­ter­fly plas­ter and an absorbent pres­sure ban­dage is applied. The pres­sure ban­dage has to be worn for 1–2 days, with the absorbent mate­r­i­al being changed reg­u­lar­ly.


Suc­tion curet­tage usu­al­ly achieves very good results and sweat­ing under the armpits can be nor­malised or even com­plete­ly stopped. The result of the oper­a­tion is per­ma­nent, usu­al­ly mean­ing no need for a sec­ond pro­ce­dure. How­ev­er, it is almost impos­si­ble to remove all of the sweat glands with this pro­ce­dure. The remain­ing sweat glands regen­er­ate after a few months. There­fore, the final result can only be assessed after half a year. In some cas­es, the remain­ing sweat glands can still pro­duce so much sweat that the patient’s day-to-day life con­tin­ues to be affect­ed.

Side effects of suction curettage

In spite of the min­i­mal­ly inva­sive tech­nique, suc­tion curet­tage is still surgery with all of the asso­ci­at­ed risks such as infec­tions and issues with the heal­ing of the wounds.

After surgery, bruis­ing, pain, swelling, red­ness, and scar tis­sue are com­mon and many peo­ple also suf­fer a reduc­tion in or total loss of under­arm hair. It can also lead to long-term numb­ness of the skin in the armpit area. In some cas­es, suc­tion curet­tage caus­es com­pen­sato­ry sweat­ing. Small­er skin nerves on the inside of the upper arm can some­times be dam­aged.

When should suction curettage not be used?

In case of acute skin infec­tions in the armpits, dia­betes, immune sys­tem or wound heal­ing dis­or­ders, suc­tion curet­tage should not be used.

How much does such a procedure cost?

The cost of a treat­ment is usu­al­ly in the mid four-dig­it range.

Does health insurance pay for suction curettage of the sweat glands?

Whether statu­to­ry health insur­ance will cov­er the treat­ment is uncer­tain. After evi­dence of its med­ical neces­si­ty has been sub­mit­ted, the costs are usu­al­ly reim­bursed. We rec­om­mend ask­ing your insur­ance com­pa­ny before begin­ning treat­ment. Pri­vate health insur­ance com­pa­nies usu­al­ly pay for the pro­ce­dure.

Benefits and risks of suction curettage compared to HIDREX iontophoresis treatment

Suc­tion curet­tage can only be used to treat the armpits. With ion­tophore­sis, on the oth­er hand, the hands, armpits, feet, head, face, and, in spe­cial cas­es, the back can be treat­ed with­out the risks of surgery, how­ev­er min­i­mal­ly inva­sive they might be. Anoth­er advan­tage of ion­tophore­sis ther­a­py is that the costs are usu­al­ly cov­ered by the health insur­ance once their med­ical neces­si­ty has been doc­u­ment­ed.


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