What Is Sympathectomy Procedure?

Ask the experts

I am 39 and I have Raynauds for several years now. I have been taking Verapamil (180 mg daily), but nothing helps. I know that there is a surgery that they can do to widen out my veins. It is called a sympathectomy operation. I would really appreciate it if you could find out about that surgery, whether it is out- patient or in, any time required off from work and for how long and any other information that you can give me.

Doctor's response

When Raynaud's phenomenom affects the fingers severely and is not responsive to medications, a surgical procedure that interrupts the nerves that innervate the arteries of the fingers is considered. This procedure is called a digital sympathectomy. During a digital sympathectomy, the surgeon cuts the tiny nerves to the arteries of the fingers. A digital sympathectomy can be done as an outpatient without general anesthesia. Recovery from the procedure is typically rapid and patients return to work within a week. While digital sympathectomy is not always effective, it frequently can preserve the affected digit to spare it from amputation.

For more information, read our full medical article on Raynaud's phenomenon.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018