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Nerve regeneration after ETS (thoraxial sympathethomy)


Dear Everyone,

I had an ETS surgery back in May 2004. It was performed in Hungary. T2 and T3 ganglia were severed (or the sympathethic trunk nerves between these ganglia, I am not sure because the hospital denided to give me any further inormation - they are afraid of a lawsiut or the like. In my country these have little results...)

I have develpoed so serious side effects (compensatory sweating in the lower lims, on the trunk and back, extreme heat intolerance) - which are of course were not mentioned by the surgeon - that nowadays it is just impossible for me to carry on a normal life. Take a walk or going to work or the like are just mere nightmares for me. I also had and unfortunately still have suicidal thoughts.

I have been doing acupuncture for almost half a year and homeopathy as a supplementery method.

No significant achievement have been achieved yet. This makes me nervous and fullfill me fear and panic that I am only wasting my time. Acupuncture was/is my only hope left.

I can state that this surgery absolutely ruined down my whole life. My wife and kid left me today.

My question is whether is it theoretically possible to regenerate some of the relevated nerve function over time by using acupuncture.

I am aslo considering using electro acupunctre for storng stimulation T1,T2 and T3 level by using Hua Tuo points.


I regularly treat a range of accident/surgery/trauma related nerve conditions (as well as those from chemo, diabetes, etc.). They largely appear to be quite treatable but there are those cases where the damage is simply too extensive and the condition has to be managed by acupuncture rather than fully resolved.

Even without permanent resolution of these issues however acupuncture should be helpful for the range of inflammation and pain and keeping those issues well under control. That is, improvement in mobility and quality of life.

I would strongly suggest you try another practitioner. While conditions can take a long time to resolve or may even need to be managed, generally speaking after 10-20 treatments certainly for difficult conditions people should see at least some steady improvement. Ideally a practitioner who also practices tuina massage (or any other form if you cannot find tuina specifically) and who does cupping.


Dear Chad,

Thank you for your answer. Sorry for not repling you for such a long time. I have already achived some major changes in my life. I divorced which - after all - showed up a very good decision, apart from the painful process it took, takes and will take in the nearby future.

As for my physical condition, which is in the focus of our interest. It has not been improved significantly, however, there are some minor positive changes. I lost a lot of weight, did even more sports (a little bit too much as a compensation of the problems of my private life). I changed my diet, tried to dismiss all poor quality food. This was a very difficult task, since almost 99% of processed food, which fill up the shelves of the giant stores, are merly chemicals with spices that allow those materials to eat. But it is possible, you just have to find your ways (e.g. go to the marketplace instead of the hypermarket).

I think that helped me a lot. No wonder that TCM always reccomends a change in lifestyle (food, daily activities etc.). That is essential.

Now I have the possibility again to make moves in order to improve my condition.

I read a lot of articles and forums about the surgery I went through. These posts are very negative which makes me sad all the time but I just cannot give up searhing for a solution.

Most of these people are looking for some miracle method that "regenerates" sympathetic ganglions. Some of them already tried stem cell therapy or nerve regrafting - with no good results of course. I think this is not so simple.

My experience is that noone has ever tried e.g. acupuncture for a long period in order to make conclusions. They usually state that TCM has no effect.

I do not think so. Why? They just did not took their time and patiente.

I tried several different point combinations on myself. Preliminary, I also did a lot of research. Actually I use the following points bilaterally:

HT-7; LU-7; CV12 and 17-22; LI-11; LI-4; GV-20

The reason for that is to that the surgery resulted a cut in the sympathetic nerve trunk at the levels of T2-T3. That results a loss of heart and lung tone and a severe compensatory sweating below the nipples and extreamly cold fingers, hands and upper limbs.

My point selection affect the given area (C7-T4). When needling the points, qi flow starts almost immediatley causing a very good sensation, easier breathing etc. That is an indicator for me that, at least theoritically, it is possible to resolve this problem.

Maybe it would be adviseable to add KD-7 as it is good for profuse sweating but I think this is not a kidney problem, rather it is circulatory disturbance and a middle warmer issue.

I think this will be a very long process with an unpredictable outcome. I hope that, what other people call nerve regeneration, exists. I belive that with a proper practitioner, it is poissible to improve most of the side effects. The human body and mind just will do the necessary adjusments without serious drugs and additional surgery. That is something that we may call nerve regeneration (from a western medicine point of view: miracle). All in all, if your symptomps improve, actual anatomical changes are not so important.

Many thanks again for your kindly reply.

I was suggested a very good chineese practitioner whom I will contact and start the theraphy.

If you do not mind, I will keep you informed to let you help people in the US where this surgery is, unfortunately, still performed widely.

Best regards,


p.s. please note that I do not have English as a mothertongue, so sorry for spelling and grammar erros :-)


Dear Chad,

I am at the starting point of my theraphy to improve the above mentioned condition and to restore my life&#39s quality to an acceptable level.

As I mentioned a year ago, I had my sympathetic nerve trunk cut at the level T2+T3 with serious consequences and side effects.

To be honest, I almost gave up in the past year but now I decided that I will not a live a life between the barriers that surgery offers me. I still hope and some doctors also suggested that there is a possiblitiy to a funcitional reinnervation at some degree.

From the point of view of TCM, the energy flow is permanently disrupted by the surgery. As a result, I have a Yin defficiency.

In reality, there is no real sympathetic activity above the line of the surgery (nipples). However, some minor sympathetic functions still exist in the affected areas but at a very low and unpredictable degree (e.g if I go to sauna, I still can sweat from some regions of my head at a reduced level).

The manisfestation of the condition:

<li>Anhydrosis (no sweating) in the upper chest, head, face and upper limb areas</li>
<li>Cold upper limbs and cold hands. Especially the fingers are cold and are sensitive to coldness</li>
<li>Increased sweating in the trunk an back</li>
<li>Disrupted heat regulation</li>
<li>Sleeping disorders</li>
<li>Phantom (strange) feelings and altered preception of reality, changed emotions, altered personaltiy</li>

My qestion is what point you recommend to reopen the blocakge and restore energy flow of the body to minimize side effects? My basic plan is to stimulate sympathetic nerves in the affected areas to provoke a functional restoration and to open those thiny "ways" still exists. Smypathethic nerves form a network and my belief, which is also suggested by doctors, is there is a possibilty to use alternate path to reach the target destination.

Points planned to be used and reasons:

<li>HT7, LI11, LI4, HT3 - to provoke sympathethic nevers in the arm, especially in the hand</li>
<li>GV14, Hua Tuo C7-T1-T2-T3-T4 - to provoke T1 ganglion</li>
<li>ST9 - to provoke stellate ganglion</li>
<li>SI16-17 - to stimulate superior cervical ganglion and facial nerves</li>
<li>GV20-23 - to stimulate nerves in the head</li>

Do you have any other or better suggestions?

Do you see any advantage of using electric acupuncure in this case?

Thank you.

Best regards,


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