Surgeon develops procedure to stop uncontrollable sweating

New surgery for uncontrollable sweating.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - To say sweating incessantly can be an inconvenience is an understatement, especially for one Texas police officer who finally found a solution for a problem he’s had for years.

Benjamin Hetrick tried everything to get rid of his excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis.

None of it worked, and that was a problem for the recent San Antonio Police Academy graduate.

“Gripping the weapon, the steering wheel when you’re driving, handling suspects. Trying to put on gloves – that used to take me a long time,” Hetrick said.

The physical symptoms were one thing, but the disorder affected him mentally too.

“I would have sweaty hands, and it would make me nervous. And I would get more sweaty, and it would be this uncontrollable cycle where I’d work myself up into a nervous wreck,” Hetrick said.

Last year, he found out about thoracic surgeon David Nielson’s unique procedure for curing hyperhidrosis.

“I developed a technique several years ago, miniaturizing or making less invasive, or minimally invasive, a technique that’s called a sympathectomy,” Nielson said.

Basically, Dr. Nielson cuts the nerve that carries signals from the brain that tell a certain part of the body to sweat.

“It’s like a wire that goes from the light switch to a light in the ceiling, and if you cut the wire precisely, without digging out the wire to find it, if you’re precisely able to cut the wire, the light switch goes out,” he said.

Dr. Nielson uses a tiny scope, a tiny pair of scissors, and only needs one incision to get the job done.

“Just imagine going from wet to completely dry. It effects almost everything you do," he said.

Some insurers cover the procedure. Hetrick’s did not. Still, he said the result was worth the $6,500.

“Oh definitely, definitely, every penny. My only regret was waiting so long because it really has made a huge difference,” Hetrick said. 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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