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Dermatology Online Journal

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Innovative use of chemodenervation in the treatment of postoperative genital hyperhidrosis-like symptoms


Postoperative complications present in many forms and can cause great morbidity and even mortality in patients who experience them. Frey syndrome is an example of a postoperative complication in which aberrant nerve regeneration following parotidectomy leads to hyperhidrosis induced by gustatory stimuli. We present a unique but similar case of aberrant nerve regeneration and resulting hypersecretion that emerged 6-7 months following perineoplasty and labial reduction for lichen sclerosus in a 53-year-old woman. An exhaustive investigation ruled out genitourinary causes of her symptoms. Pads, tampons, and surgical procedures provided no relief. We propose that the mechanism of her excessive watery secretions is similar to that which causes Frey syndrome: iatrogenic damage to nerves that aberrantly regenerate to innervate local structures involved in secretory control. The parallels between our patient’s condition and Frey syndrome are evident in the duration between surgery and onset of symptoms and the response to treatment with onabotulinum toxin, highlighting a shared cholinergic pathway. Onabotulinum injections are well tolerated by patients with localized hyperhidrosis and symptom control typically lasts several months. In this manuscript we present a novel mode of delivery of onabotulinum toxin topically to a mucosal region. With these treatments, the patient's hyperhidrosis-like symptoms remain well controlled for 3-4 months, at which point she returns to clinic for treatment. The patient did not experience symptomatic relief until this unique treatment plan was initiated. Her case illustrates the need for further understanding of recalcitrant postoperative complications involving local structures controlling liquid secretion, such as sweat glands and vascular plexuses.

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