The relatively new miraDry nonsurgical and non-invasive electromagnetic (microwave) radiation therapy to treat armpit sweating received US FDA clearance in 2011; EU CE Mark approval in 2013; and Chinese government approval in 2015. The treatment entails permanent destruction of sweat glands.The company that invented miraDry® is called Miramar Labs. In 2017, Miramar was acquired by Sientra.
Note that Sientra published a new miraDry Treatment protocol in 2018.
The miraDry device comes with a non-invasive handheld device that is used to deliver precisely controlled electromagnetic energy underneath the underarm to eliminate sweat glands via thermolysis. The armpit skin is protected by a cooling mechanism.
Most people will need two treatments spread over three months, and will end up with around 80-90 percent less sweat at the end. According to Miramar Labs, during treatment, the energy delivered to an average size underarm is around 4,000 joules. In comparison, 80,000 joules is required to boil eight ounces of room temperature water. During the miraDry procedure, local anesthetic (usually lidocaine) is used to numb the armpits to prevent any significant pain. The number of injections will vary depending on size of area being treated, the person's sex and the person's weight. It seems like 20-30 injections per armpit is typical.
The miraDry youtube channel has a number of very useful videos showing miraDry treatment protocol in treating axillary sweating. Note that are numerous videos and photos on the internet showing miraDry reviews, and a majority seem to be positive. Some of the before and after photos showing sweat reduction are very striking.
I called one of the most popular health/medical spas in my city to inquire about their miraDry results and experiences. Besides their assurance of great results from treating 3-4 patients each week over the 2013-2014 two-year period, one unusual thing that I learnt was that 80 percent of their clientele was male. I was quite surprised, as I assumed it would be the reverse. One reason for this high male percentage, however, is that a lot of the people who reside in my city that are members of this spa are male due to a huge local male dominated IT industry. At the national level, the ratio might still be skewed towards females, although not by as much as I would have originally thought.
While there are around 20,000-30,000 sweat glands in an average armpit, this figure represents a negligible fraction of the two million or so sweat glands in the human body. Numbers do vary somewhat depending on race, sex and body size. However, overall, this seems to indicate that eliminating such a small portion of the body's total sweat glands should not affect the body's ability to control overheating or result in any significant compensatory sweating. Most people who get miraDry treatment do not seem to complain of overheating or any kind of increasing in sweating in other body regions.
Having said that, the actual procedure will result in some temporary side effects in the armpit region such as redness, soreness, swelling and sometimes even lumps. If done incorrectly, the treatment can lead to some of these side effects remaining there for more than a few weeks. The positive side effects are a huge reduction in armpit sweating, and quite often, a significant reduction in armpit hear and odor.
The average cost of a miraDry treatment session is $3,000, and a treatment session consists of two 1-hour treatments spread across 3 months. Some clinics nowadays charge $2,000 up front for two sessions. Although many patients only need one session, a lot of clinics will still charge the full amount up front with no possibility of a refund in case you just end up needing or wanting one session. You should try to go to a clinic that charges you per session. In many developing countries, the cost of miraDry is sometimes even less than $1,000.
miraDry is unfortunately not covered by most health insurance plans, since armpit sweating is considered to be a cosmetic problem. However, most clinics that offer this treatment will provide low-interest payment plan options if needed. Many employers also provide health savings accounts (HSA) or flexible spending accounts (FSA) to help you with medical expenses. You may be able to use those to pay for the miraDry procedure in some instances.
Since around 2014, there have been many rumors that miraDry is being tested to treat hand and feet sweating. This was confirmed in 2016 by a poster on the hyperhidrosis forum on this site, and one guy even posted about his experience in being a test volunteer patient for miraDry hand sweating treatment trials. The hands and feet both have many times more sweat glands in comparison to the armpits, and treatment must also ensure that tendons and other important parts of hands and feet do not even get minimally damaged during the procedure. I look forward to hearing more about this new option to treat excessive hand and feet sweating in the next several years and will keep my fingers crossed for the best. If as effective as for armpit sweating, miraDry will represent a revolution in hyperhidrosis treatment.