Excessive Sweating Targeted by New Procedure

Aug 20, 2012 11:03am

Everyone sweats but for some people the problem is so severe that they do not even want to leave their homes.

“It’s really emotional.  It’s stressful,” said Briana Bernyk, who suffers from sweating so severely that she even skipped her high school prom.

“I didn’t want to go through the whole hassle of picking out a dress, so I blew it off,” she told “Good Morning America.”

Bernyk, 20, of Massachusetts, sweats so profusely under her armpits that she often has to throw shirts away after one use and wears layers to better protect herself.  She also uses just one color in her wardrobe, black, in order to camouflage her ailment.

“From sweatshirts to fancy shirts, everything I have is black,” she said.

After trying topical solutions and even Botox to help lighten her sweating, Bernyk turned to what is being heralded as the latest fix for underarm sweating, a procedure known as miraDry.

“It’s not that they don’t sweat at all. They just sweat like a normal person,” said Dr. Michael Kaminer, a Boston-based cosmetic surgeon and the managing partner of SkinCare Physicians who performed the procedure on Bernyk, said of the results.

The nonsurgical procedure became available to patients in January after being approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year. While the patient’s armpit is placed under local anesthesia,  microwave energy is used to melt the as many as 33,000 sweat glands in the armpits to stop the patient’s hyperhidrosis, the medical term for excessive sweating.

The company behind the procedure, Miramar Labs Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., says, on average, the overall volume of sweat is reduced by an average of 82 percent and lasts for nearly one year, according to its website.

Some medical experts say they are waiting for longer-term, independent data on the procedure, which can cost between $2,500 and $3,000 for two sessions and is not covered by insurance.

For Bernyk and other patients, the results speak for themselves.

“Now it’s just exciting to go out.  I can wear what I want,” she said.  “Before I was nervous about going out…uncomfortable and always in a cover up….[Now] I can hold them [my arms] on my hips and I can fix my hair in public.”

 

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