Robot helps treat student's sweat condition
MESA, Ariz. (Dec. 4, 2009) - For most of her life, 19-year old Kayla Uptain has lived with a condition that causes her palms to sweat excessively. The Arizona State University student says, “Shaking people’s hands are something I don’t like to do.”
Called hyperhydrosis, this condition affects nearly 3 percent of the population and causes excessive sweating in various areas around the body, primarily on the hands.
The cause of this condition is still unknown but according to the International Hyperhydrosis Society, the condition can run in the same family.
However, Kayla says as far as she knows, she’s the only one in her family who suffers from this condition.
Living with hyperhydrosis has not been easy for Kayla. While she has avoided shaking people’s hands, other things like writing on paper becomes a bit of a challenge because the sweat causes the paper to get wet. Kayla says, “When you are writing notes, the paper starts to curl.”
Luckily for Kayla and other sufferers of hyperhydrosis there are treatment options.
The da Vinci Surgical Robot has been used extensively at Banner Heart Hospital for things like mitral heart valve replacements. But just recently, Allen Raczkowski, MD who is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, began using the machine to help people like Kayla who suffer from hyperhydrosis. “This is really effective stuff,” says Dr. Raczkowski.
The $1.6 million dollar robot comes in two parts. One part is the console the surgeon sits at who operates the robot's arms when performing surgery. Just a few feet away is the robot that “stands” above the patient.
Equipped with several thin arms that look like knitting shears with small “hands” at the end, small incisions are made and the robot is able to get into those tight areas where human surgical hands would normally require bigger cuts into the body to treat the patient. Because of the smaller incisions, the body is able to heal faster with minimal to no blood loss during surgery. “I am definitely more comfortable having it done robotically,” says Kayla.
On Nov. 24 while on Thanksgiving break from school, Kayla underwent the procedure. Several small incisions were made on the side on both sides of her chest and the nerve that controls the sweating in her hands was removed using the da Vinci Surgical System.
A few days later, back at school and back to her normal routines, Kayla said she noticed immediate results. Dr. Raczkowski says, “Her hands were completely dry.”
If you would like to learn more about the robotic treatment option for hyperhydrosis, please call (480) 835-5146.