Uncontrollable, severe facial blushing (Idiopathic craniofacial erythema) is a physical condition caused by over-activity in the so-called sympathetic nervous system, a system made up of nerves over which we have no control. These uncontrollable nerves may become especially active due to social and emotional stimuli and may be very embarrassing. People suffering from this condition may blush while meeting friends in the street, paying in a shop, or just sitting together with friends having lunch. Suddenly the face turns deep red, turning an ordinary social situation into an embarrassment, making social and even professional life almost impossible. It is frequently present in patients with "social phobia." Many patients report that this embarrassing problem can occur while giving a presentation in public, interrupting the train of thought, and causing an unacceptable handicap in their career development.
Uncontrollable, facial blushing can now be radically treated. The simple hyperhidrosis treatment, called ETS (Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathicotomy), is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure simply involves inserting a small endoscope as well as an electro-cautery device into the thoracic cavity and interrupting the nervous supply to the small blood vessels of the face.
Severe complications from ETS have been extremely rare in patients (see Frequently Asked Questions), and the facial blushing condition has been completely cured in about 90% of patients according the the largest published report of patients with facial blushing who had the ETS procedure performed. The main indication has been hand sweat, but the operation has turned out to be effective for facial blushing as well.
When the condition is causing a major disability and conservative treatment has failed, ETS might be an option.
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