What is hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis and how can this be treated?
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is characterised by the increased production of sweat disproportionate to what is required for environmental conditions or thermoregulatory needs. It is often associated with increased body malodour. Estimated to affect both men and women equally, it can cause deep distress, physical discomfort and social awkwardness.
Hyperhidrosis can be generalised (affecting the whole body) or focal (most commonly affecting the axilla, palms and soles of the feet). Focal hyperhidrosis most commonly occurs before the age of 25 and most patients report being otherwise healthy but have a positive family history.
Bromhidrosis is defined as a foul-smelling body odour related to your sweat. Perspiration itself has no odour, however when it encounters bacteria on the skin, an offensive smell can emerge.
You have two types of sweat glands: apocrine (found in the axilla, breast and groin region) and eccrine (found all over the body). Bromhidrosis is usually related to secretions by apocrine glands, however both types of sweat glands can lead to body malodour.
There are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments for focal hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis.
The appropriate treatment approaches for hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis are based on the severity of the condition. In some cases, preventive measures are enough. In more serious cases, removal of the offending sweat glands may be the answer.
Injectables work by blocking nerve impulses to the sweat glands, and can be injected into the underarm, hands and feet. Whilst the results are evident within the first few weeks, the treatment is only effective for 4 to 10 months which is why some people prefer surgical options that are more permanent.
Treatment of the armpits – The area is prepped with a topical anaesthetic cream and carried out in our treatment facility on-site. This takes approximately 45 minutes. Results are evident after 2 weeks.
Treatment of the palms and soles of the feet require a general anaesthetic as a day-only procedure in an accredited hospital.
How long does this surgery take?
Injectables to the palms and soles of the feet takes approximately 15 minutes under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital as a day only procedure.
Medicare and private health fund rebates are often payable for this surgery.
The total cost of the surgery (Dr Kevin Ho, Anaesthetist, hospital fees) and any rebates you may be entitled to will be calculated after your initial consultation with Dr Kevin Ho. Typically the total out of pocket costs for surgery start at $1,500.00.
It is advisable to bring a referral from your GP as most cases are entitled to a Medicare or Private Health Fund rebate.
One way to cut down on apocrine sweat permanently is to remove the sweat glands themselves using a surgical technique called liposuction. The aim is to remove sweat glands from underneath your armpit. A very small suction tube, called a cannula, is inserted just under the skin. It’s then passed along the underside of your skin, removing sweat glands as it goes. It is important that not all the sweat glands are removed for normal functioning of your body and hence the surgery is designed to markedly reduce sweat and odour but NOT eradicate it completely.
How long does the surgery take?
Liposuction in most cases takes approximately 30 minutes under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. It is done as a day only procedure so you do not need to stay overnight in a hospital. Post-operative pain is minimal (Panadol is all you need generally), however the underarms can remain bruised during the early post-operative period.
What is the recovery process?
Generally, you can return to work the next day and your normal exercise activities within 7 days. Results take 3 months to establish and can be objectively seen as less staining to clothing, less dry cleaning needs, and of course less body odour.
How much does liposuction surgery cost?
The initial consultation is $300.00. Each subsequent consultation is at no charge.
The total cost of the surgery (Dr Kevin Ho, Anaesthetist, hospital fees) will be calculated after your initial consultation with Dr Kevin Ho. Typically the total out of pocket costs for surgery are $5,000.00.