Wound Healing

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) is an essential part of some chronic wound treatment plans. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, allowing oxygen to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them. HBO chambers surround patients with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. Therapy is supervised by a specially-trained physician and monitored by a technician.

Weighing more than one ton, the HBO chamber features a reclining bed inside a clear acrylic window, as pictured below. You can listen to music or watch movies while in the chamber.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be right for you if you have a wound that hasn’t healed in four weeks. A physician at the Wound Care Center will evaluate your wound and determine the best course of treatment.

Who requires HBO

Usually, there is no benefit to increasing the level of oxygen in the body for normal, healthy individuals. People with certain medical conditions do, however, benefit from increased levels of oxygen.

If you have a wound that hasn't healed in four weeks, consult Holzer Medical Center - Jackson Wound Care Center. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be an appropriate part of the treatment plan. A physician at the center will evaluate your wound and determine the best course of treatment.

Some potential HBO candidates are:

  • People with diabetes who have lower extremity wounds that are slow to heal
  • People with wounds that haven’t shown improvement in four weeks of treatment
  • People with certain bone and skin infections
  • People with radiation injuries; and people with compromised or failing skin grafts or flaps

Treatment

  • On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment depth.
  • The number of HBO treatments is not pre-set because each person responds differently to the therapy. The average number of treatments required to heal a patient with a problem wound is 20 to 40.
  • For most chronic wounds, HBO each weekday is sufficient.

Common Questions

Is HBO therapy painful?

No, the only sensation you will experience is during the pressurization phase of the treatment. The slowly increasing pressure will push on your eardrums. This is exactly the same feeling you would experience when landing in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you about different methods of relieving this ear pressure.

Is HBO therapy dangerous?

No, the treatment is very safe. Holzer Wound Care Center has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Before your first treatment, a thorough orientation is discussed with the patients.

What can I do during HBO therapy? Can I read a book or newspaper?

Each chamber is equipped with its own television so that you can watch TV or a movie, or listen to music during your treatment. You may not bring anything in the chamber with you, including books and newspapers. Many patients simply use the time to catch up on some well-deserved rest.

Are there any bathroom facilities in the chamber?

No, however, it is possible to take a bedpan or urinal in with you during your treatment. The staff can finish the treatment early, if required.

What if I feel claustrophobic?

Interestingly enough, most hyperbaric patients do not suffer from claustrophobia. This could be due to either the large size of the chamber or the fact that it has a clear acrylic shell. From inside the chamber, it is possible to see out in all directions. If you still feel anxious about your treatment, the hyperbaric physician can prescribe medication that will relax you and make your treatment less stressful.

Can someone stay with me during therapy?

To protect the privacy of our patients, family members may not remain with you during your treatment. A waiting room is provided for their comfort. A trained technician is always in the room during treatment and can communicate with you at any time.

What should I wear to treatment?

Since safety is our priority, we will provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:

What should I bring with me?

If you have a movie you would like to share with other patients, please bring it with you. Otherwise, you don’t need to bring anything.

If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the technician know so we can make you more comfortable.

  • Makeup
  • Wigs or hair pieces
  • Nail polish
  • Loose fitting dentures
  • Skin lotions
  • Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
  • Jewelry, including watches and earrings
  • Hair spray or oils

Insurance

Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of chronic non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare’s guidelines, as well. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy begins to answer any billing questions.

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