Hyperhidrosis & Schwannoma | Central Nervous System Disorders | MedStar Health


Patients with hyperhidrosis have extreme sweating that occurs at least once a week, no matter what the level of activity or temperature. Hyperhidrosis is caused by an excessive signal sent from the brain and sympathetic nerve to the sweat glands. Treatment for hyperhidrosis includes:

  • Prescription antiperspirant
  • Anticholinergic drugs are prescribed to a patient with generalized sweating
  • Iontophoresis delivers low levels of electrical currents to a patient while your body is in water
  • Onabotulinumtoxina (Botox) injections block your sweat gland nerves

Hyperhidrosis surgery, when appropriate, is performed by a thoracic surgeon using endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). In this outpatient procedure, the overactive nerves are severed or the sweat glands in the armpits are removed. This has an immediate and permanent effect for patients.


Schwannoma are a type of nerve sheath tumor, which means they grow from the exterior lining of nerves. Most patients do not realize they have a schwannoma, unless it grows in a part of their chest that affects their breathing or swallowing.

Most often, schwannoma is benign, but they can become cancerous. A thoracic surgeon will order an MRI before surgery to be sure the spinal cord is not involved. If it is involved, the surgeon will consult with a neurosurgeon to develop a surgical treatment plan.

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