What is a sympathectomy?

A sympathectomy is a procedure used to block the sympathetic nervous system. It can be used to treat certain forms of neuropathic pain such as complex regional pain syndromes including reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia. It can be either temporary (chemical sympathectomy) or permanent (surgical sympathectomy).

How to prepare for a sympathectomy

Your doctor will give you information about the procedure depending on what type of procedure is planned.

What to expect after a sympathectomy

You may experience some pain at the site of injections or where the procedure was performed. If your pain has been caused by damage to or dysfunction of the sympathetic nerves, you should experience some pain relief which may be temporary or permanent.

What are the risks of a sympathectomy?

As with all procedures, there are risks with sympathectomies. Some of the more significant risks include:


  1. Mailis-Gagnon A, Furlan A. Sympathectomy for neuropathic pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD002918. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002918.