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Underarm odour

Perspiring is natural to all of us, especially in summer. But Excessive sweating may cause trouble to some people and affect their self-confidence.

The cause

Underarm odour( or hyperhidrosis) is produced by micro-organisms ('germs') that grow in armpit areas. They produce body odor by digesting sebum, but they can only work efficiently if water is present. It is commonplace to young people because the apocrine glands become very active with the onset of puberty and the condition will get better in the old age as the glands degenerate. Most patients have genetic factors.

The principle of the surgery

The sweat glands are tiny coiled tubes embedded in the dermis or subcutaneous fat. The tiny ducts end in hair follicles and some connect directly to pores on the skins's outer surface. The surgery is to damage the sweat glands or cut the tiny ducts in order to stop the apocine glands from producing sweat with odour.

The micro invasive surgery

The treatment ranges from simply over-the-counter antiperspirant and partly injections to laser which are all far from satisfaction and may cause sequela. At a time, the surgery requires large incisions in the chest or back to reach the spinal column where the nerves are located. The surgical wound is so large that it takes long time to heal, which will cause scars or even affect the function of the shoulder joint. Thus, it is not favourable to the patient.

Today, surgery can be preformed using minimally invasive procedure known as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. It requires just two or three small incisions in armpits. The sweat gland nerves are largely cut while the wound is small and no scars are left. The result is desirable and effective.

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