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Laser therapy provides potentially permanent solution to underarm sweating

One of thirty-five people within the U.S. report that, for them, excessive underarm sweating is a significant problem.The actual number of people suffering from this problem may actually be higher as many are embarrassed by the condition, and thus don’t report it, or are unaware that treatment is available. A novel treatment using optimized continuous wave laser energy (AxiLase) can reduce and often eliminate primary axillary hyperhidrosis (underarm sweating), according to a study presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

What differentiates this treatment from previous treatment options is the selectivity of the laser’s wavelengths.Because the underarm sweat glands are actually in the fat underneath the skin and not in the skin itself, it was necessary to find a way to target only the glands, leaving the skin unharmed. Previous efforts to treat primary axillary hyperhidrosis withother lasers failed or caused collateral damage to the surrounding skin and tissues due to poor laser selectivity for the desired target. The 924 nm wavelength is exquisitely absorbed by fat and spares the dermis.

Another current option is using Botox to stop the action of the sweat glands. However, this treatment lasts for only about 6 months, requiring retreatment indefinitely. Due to variability in the duration of the effect, patients continue to worry and anticipate embarrassment when the Botox wears off unpredictably. Botox is also limited as it cannot be used by pregnant or lactating women, and other potential patients are resistant or not good candidates. Further, since it is not thought that sweat glands can regenerate, the AxiLase treatment effect is regarded as permanent.

Older therapies are really not good options at all, as they involved excision of the glands, which resulted in scarring.

All of us have more than 2,000,000 sweat glands. The purpose of most of these sweat glands is to eliminate waste and cool the body. That’s not the case with underarm glands however. Because of their peculiar composition, the underarm glands produce an odorless secretion that has the result of coating and sticking to the skin. In turn that stickiness is what allows bacteria to grow and stay attached to the skin, sometimes causing an odor. So, eliminate the sweat glands and you eliminate not only the secretion, but the odor as well. And, you do not in any way impact the body’s ability to cool itself down.

Study details

The study of 22 patients, including 16 women and six men with a mean age of 34 and a range of ages of 17 to 45, excluded patients who had undergone Botox injections within the past year, those who had undergone previous axillary surgery, patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, and patients who were pregnant. The study also excluded patients who had axillary hyperhidrosis secondary to another condition like thyroid disease.

All patients in the study reported a grade 4 rating on the Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale (HDSS), meaning underarm sweating was severe and constantly interfered with their daily activities. In terms of transepidermal water loss, the measurement was 15 times the normal range in all subjects in the study.

Histological examination pre- and post-procedure showed destruction of eccrine and apocrine sweat gland units. In addition, patients took part in follow-up interviews over a nine-month period post-procedure, and some beyond one year. Universally, patients reported a drop in the HDSS scale of at least two levels, meaning sweating was significantly improved and didn’t interfere with daily activities. The improvement was described as immediate, and subjects judged their decrease in sweating in excess of 90 percent. Only one patient required touch-up treatment at the three-month mark.

  • The latest cutting edge technique for treating excessive underarm sweating available exclusively in Pittsburgh at the Aesthetic Skin &Laser Center
  • Uses proven F.D.A. cleared laser technology to effectively reduce excessive underarm sweating
  • Only 1 to 2 days of downtime is required so you can get back to your life quickly
  • A one-time laser procedure for treating sweating in the armpits with lasting results (rarely a second treatment may be necessary)
  • Has been performed successfully in Europe for years, and is now available in the U.S.
  • Performed under local anesthesia in our state-of-the-art facility

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