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Questions about Digital Sympathectomy

6 posts in this topic

I've been suffering with the symptoms of scleroderma since I was about 19, so for about 2 years now, it wasn't until recently that it began to take a turn for the worse and they diagnosed me with scleroderma with a lupus overlap.


I had a digital ulcer on my finger that turned gangrene and I had to be hospitalized for a few days. They put me on Revatio and I'm using Santyl. Can someone please tell me why its so painful and how long will it take for results? At least from your experiences.


My rheumalogist recently suggested I see a specialist for digital sympathectomy. I have an appointment on Friday. Can anyone kind of give me a heads up on what to expect? Or if you've had it done, how was it?


I suffer from Raynaud's phenomenon and my fingers have curled up into almost a C shape. I can't make a fist and I cannot open my hand flat, does this help with that?


I'm very nervous and I didn't think others would be going through and have gone through the same things I am.

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Hello BBB

Welcome to the forum!

I don't suffer with ulcers so can't speak from experience, however, we do have a page on digital sympathectomy you may find helpful. There are other members who have had this procedure and hopefully they'll reply.

The term for the curled fingers is sclerodactyly which I do have, the sympathectomy won't help it I'm afraid.

Keep posting and take care.

Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Dear Blessed:

I had a digital sympathectomy last year before I knew I had scleroderma.

It really helped the fingers on that hand (left dominant) which were constantly numb, white and eroding, plus very painful.

My fingers have been better since then. It hasn't solved the underlying problem of course, but I believe it saved my finger on that hand.

I found the pain less than I thought and very manageable - just 3 days of meds.

Physical therapy was wonderful after everything had healed. Each week I felt I could do more and more.

The hardest things were brushing my hair and teeth because it was difficult to grip things. But that became my benchmark for each day.

Best wishes.

I'll be thinking of you.

Kay Tee

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Hello Blessed and welcome.


I'm glad you've joined us but sorry it's due to your illness. I have not had any problems with ulcers yet (knock on wood) but I know that many here have, and you'll get the support you need. I wish you the best, please keep us posted on your progress.

Warm and gentle hugs,



ISN Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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I just had the digital sympathectomy done. It is quite painful (I imagine until stiches come out), for some reason it seems like pain increases every day! My problem finger had not been blue since (It used to be blue all the time before the surgery), but it is still colder than the other fingers on that hand. I did some research on it before I had it done and it is supposed to be very effective.

Good luck! :happy-day:

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