TROY, Mich. - It's summer and a certain amount of sweating is normal, but for some people, sweat is a much bigger problem that lasts all year long.
Kelly Kersey, of Dearborn, Mich., has been dealing with excess sweat since she was a teenager.
"I think when I was in junior high, I started to become more self-conscious of it and trying to alter my clothes and what I would wear depending on if I thought I was going to have an issue with armpit sweat," said Kersey.
It was even a consideration on her wedding day.
"It wasn't just choosing the wedding dress I want," said Kersey. "I wanted to make sure I chose one that wouldn't leave a lining or a stain, so no chiffon or silk. I had heavy beading on that area."
Dr. Anthony Youn, a Troy plastic surgeon, said it's a common problem.
"About one in five Americans suffer from excessive underarm sweat, and we typically define this as people who are sweating even if the room is cool," said Youn.
Kersey said, that's her.
"It can be in a freezing cold, air-conditioned room, and I can still have a problem."
In recent years, many people plagued with excess sweat have turned to Botox injections to relieve the problem, but the treatments are expensive and temporary.
Youn says there is now a better solution. It's a procedure called miraDry.
"The miraDry device uses microwaves, and these microwaves will actually bypass the skin, leaving the skin intact and will destroy the sweat glands below it," said Youn.
The procedure is done in the office. The armpit is first numbed with tiny injections of numbing medication. The miraDry handpiece suctions up a patch of skin to treat one area at a time.
"It enters a period where it heats up the sweat glands to destroy them, and then it cools afterward, so it should be pretty numb," said Youn. "You may feel a little bit of pulling, but you won't feel any actual pain."
Because miraDry treats the tissues under the skin, it has the bonus effect of destroying the hair follicles in the treated area, eliminating the need to shave.
It's thought to be a permanent solution to excess sweat.
"Because these sweat glands are destroyed, and they don't regrow, we have every reason to believe that this is permanent as permanent can be," said Youn.
"I'm really looking forward to being able to wear whatever I want," said Kersey.
The biggest risks include bruising, temporary discomfort and swelling. The major downside is the cost. It's not covered by insurance and runs from $2,500 to $3,000 for two treatments.
"We usually recommend two treatments spaced three months apart for maximal results," said Youn. "That being said, the vast majority of people will get a nice change in just one treatment."
After one treatment, Kersey said she's stopped sweating from her underarms. She was sore for a couple of days after the procedure, but said she is looking forward to the change in her life.
"If you're embarrassed and feeling self-conscious, you're not going to be able to be yourself."
To learn more about the miraDry procedure, click here.
To visit Dr. Anthony Youn's website, click here.
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