BACKGROUND Video-assisted thoracoscopic sympathicotomy has been determined to be the best way to treat palmar hyperhidrosis. However, satisfaction with the surgical outcomes decreases with the onset of compensatory hyperhidrosis (CH) over time. The ideal level of sympathicotomy is controversial. Therefore, we compared the long-term results of R3 and R4 sympathicotomy. METHODS We retrospectively reviewed 186 patients who underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic sympathicotomy between September 2001 and September 2015. We analyzed the long-term results with respect to hand sweating and CH, and the overall satisfaction in 186 patients. RESULTS With respect to hand sweating, significantly more patients complained of overly dry hands in the R3 group (25% versus 3.7%, p<0.001) and of mildly wet hands in the R4 group (2.9% versus 13.4%, p=0.007). There was a significantly increased occurrence rate of CH in the R3 group (97.1% versus 65.9%, p< 0.001). The most frequent site of CH was the trunk area. The overall satisfaction was higher in the R4 group, but without significance (75% versus 85.4%, p=0.082). Significantly more patients reported being very satisfied in the R4 group (5.8% versus 22.0%, p=0.001). CONCLUSION The R4 group had a higher rate of satisfaction than the R3 group with respect to hand sweating. CH and hand dryness were significantly less common in the R4 group than in the R3 group. The lower occurrence of hand dryness and CH resulted in a higher satisfaction rate in the R4 group.