September 24, 2015

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy- Not Just for Scuba Divers

General Health

You may be wondering why a wound specialist in WI cares about hyperbaric medicine. After all, we aren’t near any oceans treating divers who get “the bends” and carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t all the common – thankfully! The truth is though, wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are nearly inseparable.

Hyperbaric PreDive Exam

If you have a wound that is considered “chronic” and can’t be healed through conventional means, you may be a candidate for HBOT. HBOT is delivered in a special chamber in which the pressure inside the chamber is about two-and-one-half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This does NOT cause pain (maybe some ear popping as the pressure is slowly increased) but it does put more oxygen in your blood accelerating healing. Once you are comfortably situated in the chamber and the pressure reaches the desired stage, all you need to do is lay back and relax. Many patients sleep for the 90 or so minutes the treatment takes. You may also watch TV or a movie or bring along a friend to talk with. Treatments are then repeated about 5 days per week for 4-6 weeks.

During the treatments, you will breathe 100% oxygen, quickly increasing the concentration of oxygen in your blood, where it is delivered the wound site for faster healing. Essentially, HBOT therapy helps heal the wound from the inside out. HBOT can help reduce swelling, fight infection, and build new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue.

HBOT is also effective in:

  • Fighting certain types of infections,
  • Improving circulation,
  • Stimulating growth of new blood vessels, and treating
  • Crush injuries
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Brown recluse spider bites
  • Diabetic foot ulcers

Medicare and most healthcare plans reimburse for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for ‘currently accepted indications.’ Our staff will assist you with personal insurance issues.

Currently, not very many hospitals offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy because it is such a specialized treatment option – however we have two chambers right here in Jefferson County. A referral is not required, but is suggested and we will keep your physician up-to-speed on your progress all along the way.

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