Does miraDry® (Hyperhidrosis Treatment) Work?: Cost, Overview, and Results
miraDry® Quick Facts
- Cost: $1,950-$2,000 for the first treatment; subsequent treatments may cost less ($1,000-$1,200 each).
- Time commitment: 15 minutes for the initial consultation. 1.5-2 hours for the procedure.
- Efficacy: 70%-90% of study subjects reported a "significant" reduction in underarm sweat after an average of two treatments.
What is miraDry®?
miraDry® is a relatively noninvasive procedure used to treat hyperhidrosis, or excessive perspiration. In 2011, the miraDry® procedure was cleared by the US FDA for permanent reduction of underarm sweat; it was approved in 2015 for removal of underarm hair and odor glands (a technique known as miraSmooth).
I say "relatively" above because while the procedure itself (i.e. the actual miraDry® "wand" passing over your underarms) IS noninvasive, the preparation for it is NOT. As someone who's undergone the treatment, I feel it's my duty to inform anyone interested that it is not discomfort-free or non-intrusive.
A Little About Me
Before I discuss my experience, I thought it would be useful to share a bit about my motivation for getting the procedure and my previous cosmetic treatments, as they might affect my results. As long as I can recall, I've been a healthy and athletic woman. With a healthy, vigorous workout comes a healthy amount of perspiration. Unfortunately for me, a healthy amount of perspiration also resulted from being nervous, walking quickly, or overheating in any way.
Whatever the activity, it didn't take much to trigger sweat to come pouring from my underarms. And by pouring, I mean literally rolling down my arms if I became overheated. Needless to say, this caused me great embarrassment and resulted in ruined clothing. I'd abandoned antiperspirants years earlier due to concerns that they may be linked to cancers of the breast, so my sweating went completely unchecked.
To help prevent underarm odor, I'd undergone about 12 laser hair removal treatments from 2009 to 2015. I think it's important to mention because of miraDry®'s purported hair removal; I can't attest to its efficacy in that regard since my underarms were already hairless.
Timeline: During miraDry®
How Long Did it Take?
Tumescent Anesthesia Injection
30 minutes (15 per 'pit')
1 hour (30 per 'pit')
After your consultation, you'll experience the following:
- Review and sign consent forms: These are standard and will outline what you can expect. Take the time to read them thoroughly and feel free to ask questions. It's your body - speak up!
- Disrobe, clean armpits, tattoo!: You'll be brought to a private room where you'll be asked to disrobe. Once you're undressed and in the designated garb (see above), the technician will wipe down your armpits with alcohol and apply the temporary tattoo, which is what he or she will go over with the miraDry® "wand".
- Receive anesthesia: A doctor entered the room and warned that I'd feel a sting under each arm as he injected the lidocaine. Surprisingly, I felt nothing in the left armpit. I did feel a quick sting under the right armpit as predicted.
- Inflate armpits: OK, this isn't the technical term, but it does aptly describe the effects of the injection of tumescent anesthesia. This was by far the most uncomfortable part of the procedure, and it WAS invasive. Tumescent anesthesia is the injection of saline and lidocaine into an area to both numb and "inflate" it. (Check out the video below to see what tumescent anesthesia does to armpits!)
- Pass the miraDry®: After the doctor exited, the technician began the treatment. She passed it slowly over each armpit, moving it along the tattoo when indicated by a tone coming from the machine.
- Wipe down and ice: I was provided a few miraDry® branded ice packs after the tech wiped down my pits. Following a few minutes of icing, I got dressed and went on my way.
Tools of the Trade
Days Since Procedure
Intense soreness and aching treatable with ibuprofen. Swollen/lumpy armpits.
Lumpy underarms, sore to the touch. No sweat.
Sore. Underarms are still lumpy/swollen.
No swelling. Reduced sweating, but full results aren't realized for at least a few months.
miraDry®'s website shows results that are similar to what I experienced after one treatment: underarms that produce very little sweat.
Clinical trials resulted in 70% to 90% of subjects reporting a "significant reduction" in underarm sweat after two treatments. Note that they did not report a complete absence or cessation of sweat. This has been my experience, too. I'd estimate that my underarms are 70-80% less sweaty, which means I no longer wear deodorant of any kind. I've had one day I'd consider "smelly," but since there's barely any sweat to carry the odor-causing bacteria, the smell was not noticeable to anyone but me (I hope...). I've started using astringent under my arms, and have not noticed any odor since beginning this practice.
I would expect 100% reduction in sweating if I undergo the procedure a second time, which is what the company, Miramar Labs, Inc., recommends (naturally). I'm going to cool my jets and enjoy my basically dry armpits for now, though. Study participants report more sweat reduction 12 months after the procedure, so perhaps I'll have total cessation in a year. Be sure to check back for an update!
While I did not need deodorant the first few days after the miraDry®, I quickly realized I would need it again. Yes, the procedure reduced my sweating. However, it did not eliminate it completely, as evidenced by the photo on the right (taken two months after miraDry®).
It's been over six months since my initial miraDry® and I've experienced a handful of similarly sweaty days. I decided to give miraDry® one more chance and returned to Serenity Med Spa in San Francisco to have it done a second time. The process was identical to the previous, but the attending physician and technician asked more questions about my post-miraDry® sweating. I'm a few days out (still slightly swollen, but no longer sore), so it's too soon to tell if it completely eliminates my underarm sweating. I'll be sure to let you know, though!
It's been over two months since my second miraDry® and I haven't needed deodorant at all during this time. My new routine is as follows: shower, then wipe astringent under my arms. Believe it or not, I STILL sweat under my arms. However, there's been an overall reduction of about 80% and the sweat is odorless (verified by a few good sports who were willing to stick their noses in my pits...). WIN.
Is miraDry® worth it? miraDry® works, but it's not 100%. If you do suffer from hyperhidrosis, one procedure will likely reduce your perspiration to the level of a "normal" sweater. If you sweat normally, miraDry® is probably not worth it.
- If you're a menstruating woman, avoid scheduling the procedure immediately before or during your period. You may experience more discomfort due to increased sensitivity during your cycle.
- Take an ibuprofen or other pain-relieving OTC medicine a few hours before the treatment. You should take some after the procedure as well.
- Apply ice packs under your arms immediately following the miraDry®. Icing will reduce pain and swelling and may be necessary up to two days after, depending on your experience.
- If possible, take the rest of the day off. I experienced a bit of loopiness afterwards, and then throbbing pain about 6 hours later.
- Be prepared for possibly constant pain and soreness the day after the procedure. You should avoid exercising and applying anything under your arms (you won't need deodorant).