Surgery saves teen from embarrassment of sweaty palms

Excessively sweaty hands can be treated through a surgical procedure called sympathectomy

Hailey Bennett’s hands were sweating nervously the day she had surgery in December 2014. Though not an unusual reaction, her sweaty palms were actually the reason behind the operation.

As long as she could remember, the 14-year-old daughter of Matt and Jeanette Bennett lived with the inconvenience of extremely sweaty hands. Known as hyperhidrosis, her condition caused significant challenges in her everyday life.

“I was always thinking about my sweaty hands,” said Bennett. “Though some people probably didn’t notice, I couldn’t help but make a big deal of it in my mind. When going to dances and different social events, I didn’t want to touch or dance with anyone. At school, I didn’t want anyone to know about my sweaty hands, so I avoided touching people.”

The disorder, which affects 1 percent of the nation’s population, also interfered with basic things such as playing the piano, eating food, shaking hands with people and even putting on makeup, which had to be done using the back of her hand rather than her palms.

With the help of her parents, Bennett tried many therapeutic options including using baking soda, antiperspirant prescriptions and even electric treatment for her hands — all of which were ineffective. Finally, her parents found out about a procedure known as surgical sympathectomy that solves the problem of sweaty palms.

“It’s not a fancy operation. It’s minimally invasive and the condition is completely treatable,” said John Mitchell, MD, who performed Bennett’s surgery at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. “For this procedure, it’s not so much a matter of whether patients are cured or not, but how satisfied they are with the result of the surgery.”

The success of Bennett’s surgery was evident right away. “Right when I woke up after the surgery, I saw automatic results. I couldn’t stop rubbing my hands together in amazement,” said the young teen.

Her parents have seen a difference as well. “We felt this surgery was a good investment in Hailey’s future happiness and her social life. Now that this limiting factor is taken away, she can look forward to an exciting life ahead of her,” said her mom, Jeanette.