Sympathectomy is a surgical procedure that destroys nerves in the sympathetic nervous system. This surgical procedure cuts or destroys the sympathetic ganglia, collections of nerve cell bodies in clusters along the thoracic or lumbar spinal cord.
Sympathectomy can be done either by a surgical procedure under general or local anaesthesia. It may also be treated with a percutaneous radiofrequency technique. In this technique, the surgeon locates the ganglia by a combination of x ray and electrical stimulation. The ganglia are destroyed by applying radio waves through electrodes on the skin.
Laser beams can also be used to destroy the ganglia.
Depending upon the ganglion involved the sympathectomy is called cervical, thoraccic or lumbar
The procedure is done to increase blood flow and or decrease long-term pain in certain diseases that cause narrowed blood vessels. It can also be used to decrease excessive sweating.