Why me?



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 operation.

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.

Ulf Sundequist

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 operation.

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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