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.