Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses pure oxygen to help your body’s tissues heal faster from wounds or infections. It can also help certain medicines work better, like antibiotics.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often used for:

  • Wounds on the legs or feet caused by diabetes
  • Skin and tissue grafting
  • Chronic or non-healing wounds
  • Infections of the bones
  • Soft tissue injury caused by radiation

If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor to see if hyperbaric oxygen therapy might be a good option for you in addition to your other treatments.

What to expect from hyperbaric oxygen therapy

With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you’ll lie in a special, pressurized chamber for about two hours at a time. A care team member will use an intercom to talk to you and give you any instructions. Inside the chamber, you can relax comfortably and watch television, listen to music, read or take a nap.

While you’re relaxing, the increased air pressure and the pure oxygen you’re breathing combine to help the cells of your body take in oxygen faster than normal, which helps them heal.

During your treatment, our team will teach you how to care for your wound at home and how to prevent wounds from coming back. This might mean making some lifestyle changes.

Benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

In addition to helping wounds heal, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can:

  • Reduce or prevent complications, including the risk for amputation
  • Fight infection
  • Keep recurrent wounds from returning
  • Stimulate the growth of new tissues and blood vessels
  • Decrease swelling and fluid build-up

Many of these benefits can happen because the treatment helps your body get oxygen to areas that may normally have poor circulation. By delivering an extra boost of oxygen into your cells and tissues, hyperbaric oxygen therapy stimulates your body’s natural healing process.

Get ready for hyperbaric oxygen therapy

If you smoke, tell your doctor before starting hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Smoking can make it tougher for your cells to absorb the pure oxygen used in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The best solution is to quit smoking, but try to avoid smoking for two hours before your treatment session.

Call the care team if you have a head cold, fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea on the day of your treatment session. You may need to reschedule for a different day when you’re feeling better.