Management of Postsurgical Hyperhidrosis with Direct Current and Tap Water

Bernadette T. Gillick, Luther C. Kloth, Andrew Starsky, Laura Cincinelli-Walker

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10 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose. Excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, involves the eccrine sweat glands of the axillae, soles, palms, and/or forehead. The use of iontophoresis to reduce or eliminate excessive sweating has been described since 1952. The purpose of this case report is to describe the use of tap water galvanism (TWG) using direct current (DC) with a patient who had postsurgical hyperhidrosis. Case Description. The patient was a 36-year-old male electrician with traumatic phalangeal amputation and postsurgical development of hyperhidrosis. Tap water galvanism was administered using a DC generator, 2 to 3 times per week for 10 treatments. The patient's hands were individually submerged in 2 containers of tap water with the electrodes immersed directly into the containers. Each hand was treated with 30 minutes of TWG at 12 mA. Hyperhidrosis was measured by a 5-second imprint and subsequent tracing of the left hand placed on dry paper toweling. Outcomes. The patient's hyperhidrosis decreased from the full left palmar pad, with a surface area of 10.3x12.0 cm, to a reduced area of wetness that covered a 2.2-x2.7-cm area. The patient returned to work as an electrician without needing absorbent gloves, which had prevented him from performing electrical work. Discussion. Following use of TWG, the patient's palmar hyperhidrosis returned to normhidrosis. [Gillick BT, Kloth LC, Starsky A, Cincinelli-Walker L. Management of postsurgical hyperhidrosis with direct current and tap water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Electrotherapy
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Iontophoresis
  • Physical therapy


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