Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
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What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)?
HBOT is a method of administering highly concentrated oxygen to a patient to improve or correct certain health conditions. It has been used in the treatment of chronic wounds since the late 1800s.
How does HBOT help speed up the healing process?
The healing of a wound cannot take place without oxygen. In a hyperbaric chamber, the body is exposed to more oxygen than we can breathe in. That oxygen dissolves into the body’s fluids, including plasma, the lymph and the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. These fluids carry the extra oxygen to all areas of the body, including where circulation is poor or blocked. This extra oxygen helps speed up the healing process. It enhances the ability of our white blood cells to fight infection, promote the development of blood vessels and build new connective tissue.
What are the benefits?
- Increased blood flow to the injured tissues
- Increased blood vessel formation
- Increased healing of wounds
- Reduced swelling
- Reduced infection
- Preservation of compromised tissue
- Stimulation of new bone formation
- Decreased size of life-threatening air bubbles in the blood
- Reduced effect of toxic substances
What is a hyperbaric chamber?
Hyperbaric chambers are cylindrical spaces, encased completely in glass, allowing patients to see from all sides. The patient lies flat in a hospital gown with a few layers of blankets to ensure comfort. Just outside the chamber, a nurse sits with the patient throughout the entire treatment and is able to communicate with the patient through a special phone if the patient has questions during the session.
How is HBOT used in treatment?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy must be used in conjunction with a total wound care program, including good nutrition and daily wound care. A typical series of hyperbaric oxygen treatments can require as many as five to six visits a week for four to five weeks. Only about 20% of wound care patients require hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). But those who undergo it see substantial improvement.
How long are HBOT sessions?
Patients typically will need to attend 20 consecutive, one- to two-hour sessions for healing to occur.