This is a question we probably all have asked ourselves.
If it is true what they say, when marketing the sympathectomy operations, that
only 2 percent of all patients regret the operation - why was I struck by
this lightning? Well, it was a long time ago, if ever, we believed in this
number of unsatisfied patients. The amount of people who regret the operation
is most likely much higher. Yet, some are satisfied with their operations, while
others have had their lives ruined. This must have a cause! Did the surgeon make
a mistake, was the wrong nerve cut, or what?
If we presume that all operations are
carried out in exactly the same way and that no mistakes have been done when
cutting the nerve, there must be another factor that affects the outcome of the
We have not yet found an answer to this question: why have I all these
side effects? One of the "demands" we have forwarded to the swedish health authority
"Socialstyrelsen" is that they through investigations and research really tries to
find out why some sympathectomies fail.
That is just what we claim: some sympathectomies fail. Even if the surgeons succeed in
removing the hand sweat or the facial blushing, this is too often made at
the expense of severe side effects.
An interesting theory was presented by Dr Ulf Sundequist
at FfSo's annual meeting in Karlstad in october 1999. He claimed that the
outcome of the operation is depending on which type of personality you are before
The people who suffer from side effects are often people
who are highly "revved up". People with high ambitions, highly
engaged in everything, without the ability to say "no". Many of them
have perhaps the tendency to keep feelings "locked in", and have an
emotional burdon to carry. These people are before the operation high on
the adrenalin side and low on endorfin. Some of them have perhaps equaled this
imbalance by exercising a lot (raises the endorfin) or by taking different
medicines to accomplish the same effect (cipramil, anafranil). People who
suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) also runs a greater risk of
being struck by side effects.
This is just a small extract from Dr. Sundequist's
lecture. Since quite a large number of members on this meeting
could recognize themselves in this description, the meeting
decided that this theory was interesting enough to follow up.
In the ongoing survey we will also map the circumstances before the operation.
Apart from this theory and Dr Sundequist's interest, we must
say that we have met very little understanding from the health authorities
and the hospitals. The operating surgeons are not willing to confirm that
sympathectomies can be the cause of our symptoms, and have shown even
less interest in searching for the reason why some patients are struck by
side effects. If we had received this confirmation and understanding much
of our struggle had been won.
We have recently received a confirmation from "Socialstyrelsen", please see
the "News" page.
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