Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

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Wounds need oxygen to heal properly. For most people, this happens naturally. For others, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help heal problem wounds that haven't responded to previous treatment.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment in which the patient breathes 100% oxygen inside a pressurized chamber for short periods of time. While in the chamber, breathing pure oxygen saturates the patient's blood plasma and allows it to carry from 15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissues. 

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) helps the body’s oxygen-dependent, wound-healing mechanisms function more efficiently in the following way:

  • Stimulates neovascularization (new blood vessel growth)
  • Has an antibacterial effect on wounds (helps to kill bacteria)
  • Enhances leukocyte (WBC) oxidative killing and reduces ischemic reperfusion injury
  • Reverses the effects of tissue hypoxia (low oxygen) caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

When hyperbaric oxygen is used with standard wound care and overall team approach, studies show there's improved healing of the wound.

Wounds Commonly Treated by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

  • Acute carbon monoxide poisoning (CO)
  • Crush injuries or severe physical injuries causing traumatic ischemia
  • Diabetic foot and leg ulcers
  • Infections such as necrotizing fasciitis, osteomyelitis, gas gangrene and actinomycosis
  • Wounds associated with cancer or radiation treatment

Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

  • Increases oxygen flow to oxygen-starved areas of the body
  • Stimulates cell growth, regeneration and wound healing
  • Decreases risk of amputation in the case of diabetic leg or foot wounds
  • Increases neural brain function
  • Stimulates small blood vessels
  • Promotes new skin growth
  • Helps fight infection and prevents future problems from occurring

What to Expect During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Our hyperbaric oxygen chambers are clear, see-through chambers that allow patients to sit up or lie down while sleeping, watching TV or talking with staff. The location provides the appropriate clothing to wear during the treatment. The chamber can accommodate a parent and a child if needed. 

When treatment starts, a hissing sound occurs as oxygen enters the chamber. You'll breathe 100% oxygen while in the chamber. Patients feel warm for a few minutes at the start of treatment and cool at the end.

You may feel pressure or squeezing in your ears, sinuses or teeth. This is due to the change in air pressure. Try flexing your jaw by yawning, drinking water, pinching your nose or swallowing. Tell the nurse if you notice pain in your ears or other areas.

Items not allowed in the chamber: 

  • Make-up, wigs/hair pieces
  • Nail polish that has been on less than 24 hours
  • Contact lenses
  • Deodorants, lotions, perfume, aftershave
  • Jewelry
  • Hair spray/oils
  • Loose dentures, gum, candy

How Long Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Last?

The length of treatment is dependent on the diagnosis. Typical treatments will last 90 minutes and are given once or twice daily, Monday through Friday, for as little as a few days or up to several weeks. Some patients may have weekend treatments depending on their diagnosis.

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safe?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and evidence-based treatment proven to speed up the healing process in certain types of wounds. Our hyperbaric oxygen chambers are clear, see-through chambers that allow patients to sit up or lie down while sleeping, watching TV or conversing with staff. The chamber can accommodate a parent and a child if needed.