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Raynaud Phenomenon (cont.)

When Is Surgery Appropriate for Raynaud's Phenomenon?

Surgery is rarely offered as a treatment for Raynaud's phenomenon. When symptoms cannot be managed and medications are inadequate or have too many side effects, surgical sympathectomy may be offered. This is a rare procedure and is almost never done, since the sympathetic discharge is already at its maximum. Surgical sympathectomy was done in the past with almost no benefit. If the tip of the toe or fingertip is necrotic or gangrenous, debridement (cleaning dead tissue) or amputation may be required, but this is not common.

A more localized form of sympathectomy for the hand, a digital sympathectomy, can be performed by interrupting the nerves of the palm of the hand to restore circulation to the fingers.

Are There Alternative Medicine Treatments for Raynaud's Phenomenon?

Many alternative care products and health supplements are sold for the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon. Some alternative care practitioners recommend fish oil, gingko biloba, and biofeedback therapy. Unfortunately, there are no clinical studies to validate the claims made by the manufacturers of these therapies. It is best to speak to your doctor before you start with any of these therapies.

Can One Prevent Raynaud's Phenomenon?

Preventing the arteries from narrowing is the key to living successfully with Raynaud's phenomenon.

  • Avoid cold weather. Dress in warm, loose-fitted layers of clothing.
  • If you smoke, work with your doctor to try to stop the habit.
  • Try to identify and lower stressors in your life that worsen the symptoms.
  • Remain active and exercise regularly because this also improves blood flow to the hands and feet.
  • Do not smoke.
  • If you have diabetes, make sure your blood sugars are well controlled. Unregulated high sugars often lead to further blood vessel damage (peripheral vascular disease), which can make symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon worse.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/3/2016
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Raynaud Phenomenon »

Raynaud phenomenon refers to reversible ischemia of peripheral arterioles.

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