2 years later: disfigured and sweaty - Calgary, AB

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*Treatment results may vary

At the time of writing, I underwent my first...

At the time of writing, I underwent my first miraDry treatment three months ago and am a week away from my second.

Insert typical case history here: I'm a 26-year old male sufferer of drenching underarm sweat since mid-puberty...so desperate to abandon my condition as a "human faucet" that I would consider microwaving parts of myself.

Since what really matters to anyone reading this is the procedure itself and the results thereof, let's get right into that.

To begin, I will recommend to anyone doing this procedure that you request a warm temperature in the treatment room. If you go in and the room is "pleasantly cool," ASK FOR A BLANKET in advance. You will need it. Once you're naked from the waist up and the injected epinephrine hits your bloodstream, you will feel like a human icicle and shiver like a drenched poodle. You have been warned.

My treatment followed the same steps as those outlined by everyone else on here: to begin, my nurse applied the requisite "template" (commenting along the way on the aggressive spurting from my terrified sweat glands). Then came the local anesthetic shots, which are a blend of lidocaine and epinephrine. In my case, there were 26 shots per underarm. If you have sensitive skin - which I do - these will not be pleasant. Be prepared for a series of angry bee stings in each underarm...and pray that this will be the worst part. (I'm sorry to say...it may not be.) Heart rate and stress increases dramatically when the epinephrine hits your system.

Following the injections, my nurse applied the miraDry machine in a series of positions along each underarm, about 20 or so, from top to bottom. The machine sucks itself onto the skin like an angry robotic remora whilst playing a 20-second snippet of "soothing" mermaid music from the base station, presumable to reassure you that it is in fact roasting your dermis whilst latched on like a parasite. If you're used to laser hair-removal treatments, where each position is a blinding, instantaneous flash...this is nothing like that. The machine latches on, then takes its time in each position to first roast it, then cool it down, I'd say about 20 seconds per position. It only lets go of you once the entire cycle is complete.

I would say about half of these placements in each underarm - mostly those near the "top" of the underarm - went without feeling anything. In the latter half of each underarm, from "middle" down, things got progressively less pleasant. At first, the occasional flicker of warmth came through - unexpected, but just curious. Then every second application of the machine began producing a sensation of a deep, hollow ache - I would describe it as a genuinely "creepy" feeling, as though something were wrong but not quite painful yet.

The final 10 or so applications of the machine, at the "bottom" end of the treatment pattern, were excruciating. There were a few flickers of heat which genuinely stung, more of the deep, aching pain, and occasionally a very painful "hot spot" which felt rather like being slashed with a hot knife.

The second-last application of the machine, on my left underarm, caused an intensely painful, hot "stab" which hit a nerve, causing my entire arm to flash up in pain and "buzz" as though I'd smashed my funny bone on something.

On to the outcome...

The aforementioned left-arm incident *caused nerve damage* in that arm. This became immediately apparent when the freezing wore off, because my entire left forearm remained numb from the elbow to the wrist. It felt like a heavy, dead log with no sensation whatsoever. Thankfully sensation and control in my left hand remained unaffected. I have now gone three months since the treatment and while I am able to feel again in the area, sensation between elbow and wrist is definitely dulled - I would say around 20-30% less sensitive than my right arm.

Side-effects immediately following the procedure - with the exception of the nerve damage - was about the same as what others have described. Both underarms swelled significantly, with moderate bruising and some blood blisters on the skin where the injections (and the machine's subsequent latching-on with strong suction) caused bleeding. The ordeal, though billed as "outpatient" is NOT a relaxing one and I would strongly advise anyone doing it to have the rest of the day to themselves at home in order to recuperate. It is physically and mentally stressful - thanks to both the epinephrine and the pain caused by the machine - so an immediate return to work would probably be a bad idea.

The swelling and soreness following the procedure was manageable with ice packs and ibuprofen. The "tattoo" pattern took a few days to wear off the skin. As the soft-tissue swelling gradually went down, there were clear areas of more significant "hard lumps" which remained for some time. These hard lumps were still visible around 6 weeks post-treatment, however at the 3-month mark they have now all gradually gone away and my underarms look perfectly normal once again.

Now, the million-dollar question: did it work? Initially, yes. Immediately following the procedure there was zero sweat coming from my underarms, which stayed bone-dry for about 3 weeks. Then the occasional spot of dampness started happening, however in comparison to my former sweat-soaked condition, it was fantastic.

BUT...here we are at 3 months and I would say 70-90% of my former sweating has returned. I am once again soaking through shirts and suit jackets and regularly feel fresh sweat droplets rolling down my skin barely 15 minutes after toweling off from my morning shower. The only noticeable difference at this point is that my sweat no longer smells - AT ALL - it is now completely odorless, which is a nice surprise. Of course, my left arm is still partially numb.

I should note that, due to the pain caused by the machine, my nurse reduced it to a LEVEL 2 setting for most of the treatment. Judging by most reviews on here, LEVEL 2 isn't strong enough to be highly effective.

My second treatment is scheduled in 6 days' time - the doctor's office advises that the second treatment will be performed at a higher level "according to my pain tolerance" - so assuming I can handle more, I'll take it and hope this produces a longer-lasting effect. The doctor's office mentioned that if pain requires a reduced level, then a third treatment may be required...at a further cost of $1,500. Updates to follow as this happens.

In the meantime, I'd be curious to know if anyone else has suffered the nerve damage I did...and if so, how long did it take for yours to recover? Did it ever get 100% better?

Sweat on, everyone...

Update - Day of 2nd Treatment

This morning I had my second miraDry appointment. This time was with a different RN (there are several who perform this procedure at my clinic) who began by reviewing my history, including the difficulties encountered in the first treatment and the lack of lasting effect. She said that it was a good idea to drop the machine to Level 2 the first time around (rather than disregarding the effect it was having on my nerves, which were obviously getting blasted), but in view of my negligible benefit, it was essential that we crank it up a bit for the second.

I was nervous about this because of everything discussed in my original review, however my instinct was that she knew what she was doing - so we decided on a Level 3...which according to my RN has shown reliable success on patients like me: younger men with "thin" skin. According to her, the top settings can be riskier if the patient doesn't have a thick hide to absorb all the energy, hence choosing to be cautious while still trying to make it work.

The most important thing I'd like to say is that this second treatment was "night and day" different from the first. I'm not sure if this is because my new RN was really good at it, or if the first round "desensitized" my underarms somewhat, or both. Regardless, it was way easier.

The lidocaine injections, though not pleasant, breezed right through quickly and I was frozen like a turkey in no time. We ran the entire procedure on Level 3, and apart from a few uncomfortable hot spots, there were absolutely none of the "big bang" nerve whackers. Unlike the first time, the entire thing went seamlessly from start to finish, only taking a couple very short breaks to shake off shoulder tension from the awkward position. I think we were done at least 45 minutes faster, despite the Level 3 procedure technically taking longer than a Level 2 (due to the longer duration of energy delivery.)

I'm only three hours out of the procedure, and apart from the soreness and swelling we expect right in the underarms, there is NONE of the tingling, numbness, dead-log sensation, etc that happened on the first treatment. Absolutely nothing bad! My arms and hands feel exactly like they did this morning before I went to the clinic.

I hope this is good news to those who were as terrified after their first round of treatment as I was. I really intend no criticism of the RN who did my first procedure, but I can honestly say that the RN who took care of me today was amazing. It's obvious that having a really experienced and "tuned-in" person do this procedure can make a massive difference - from running the treatment perfectly, to keeping the patient comfortable and avoiding getting psyched out. One thing she did was to explain exactly what the machine was doing every single step of the way - including all the little clicks and whines it makes while latched onto the skin. It was obvious that she knows exactly how this machine works. For a cerebral person like me it was great, because the machine is actually quite complex and interesting...so armed with this new knowledge, when a hot spot came along I could instead think about what the machine would do next, which took a lot of the anxiety away. Knowledge is power!

As a sidenote, since I had no improvement following the first treatment, my RN advised that if some sweating returns after this second one, they will have me back in at half price to conduct a starch-iodine test in order to pinpoint exactly where the remaining sweat glands are, then cook the remaining buggers at an even higher energy level. This is reassuring, given the doubts I had after the first round. But, since I'm more sore this time around than the first, it's clear that the heat was definitely turned up and I'm hoping for the best.

If I've missed anything, feel free to ask questions. Otherwise I'll keep this updated as Round 2 heals and the results have time to make themselves known. (In the meantime, I have at least six weeks of ZERO SWEAT ahead, which will be awesome!)

3 Days After 2nd Treatment

Recovery from 2nd treatment is as dramatically different from the first time as the treatment itself. Three days out the worst of the blood blisters are fading, swelling (though worse than the first) has already peaked and is going down and bruising is only about half as bad.

Soreness is tolerable. By the end of Day 2 I was already off painkillers and just icing regularly. The pits are back to being 100% dry...let's see how this one lasts.

Two Weeks After 2nd Treatment

As of this morning, all swelling and bruising is gone on the left side. About 25% swelling remains on the right side. Both sides are slightly hyper-sensitive to touch right now (same as the first time around), but I know from experience that this will resolve within the next two weeks.

As for sweating: the left side is producing occasional dampness, I'd say around 1/5 the wetness it was gushing before the 2nd treatment. The right side remains 100% dry.

3 Months After 2nd Treatment - headed back for a 3rd

Familiar drill at this point: underarms are completely back to normal, except for a zone of sweating and hair regrowth "right in the middle" of each underarm. Peripheral sweating and hair growth (from the broader zones above and below the central crease of my underarms) seems to have been totally eliminated, but the core of each armpit is still producing enough sweat to get me at least 50% as wet as I was before the first treatment.

A starch-iodine test has verified the existence and location of the remaining sweat glands right in the middle of the underarms, so in consultation with my RN and the doctor overseeing my clinic, I'll be going in tomorrow for a Level 4 - using a slightly smaller template in order to focus the treatment right in the middle, where my most aggressive sweat glands have decided to make their last stand.

I'm not particularly looking forward to a third round of the injections, treatments and recovery and have decided that this will be my final round with the MiraDry...but am optimistic as the results have improved along with energy levels so far. My sweating has improved noticeably, so this final round will hopefully take me up to the 80% target resolution that others seem to achieve. Further updates to follow!

The final word, two years after 3 rounds of MiraDry - don't do this to yourself.

Sadly, the MiraDry adventure proved to be unsuccessful, expensive and damaging. It's now just over two years since my third treatment, and the sweating returned with a vengeance. I am now having Botox injections every 8 months, which works perfectly (zero sweat) with no side effects.

As for the PERMANENT effects of the MiraDry:

The skin in my underarms appears to be permanently damaged. It is subtle, but examined close up, you can see the faint "lines" in the skin from where each pulse of energy was delivered. Touching it, you can actually feel the "bands" of toughened tissue from each pulse location. It's like I'm now stamped with a permanent barcode just below the surface of my skin.

Hair growth in the underarms is significantly reduced as well. So, the MiraDry obviously damaged the hair follicles, while failing to do what it was supposed to do to the sweat glands. (This is an acknowledged side effect, and I don't really mind.)

To anyone out there considering this procedure: if you can afford Botox, or if you have a health plan that will pay for the cost of medical Botox injections, DO NOT GET MIRADRY. The risks are very real, and it clearly doesn't work for everyone.

I'm lucky to now have a health plan that will pay for the cost of the Botox injections, as long as a Dr prescribes it for treatment of hyperhidrosis. So, I encourage anyone to try that first, because it means zero cost for a much safer and more effective solution. If Botox works for you, and is covered by insurance, then IMO there is absolutely no reason to risk the permanent skin damage that MiraDry caused to me, with no long-term reduction in sweating, and at great cost. I regret ever doing this to my skin.

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