Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes healing of severe wounds
11/17/2016 4:51 PM
At the CTMC Institute for Advanced Wound Healing, we treat wounds that are having a hard time healing, which include burns, road rash, injuries from car accidents, surgical incisions and diabetic foot ulcers. We also treat swelling in the limbs with compression garments.
When a patient first comes to our clinic, we do an initial evaluation of the wound to determine how it will be treated. We may choose to put them in a total contact cast or use a wound vacuum. For the most severe wounds, however, we use hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing a patient inside a hyperbaric chamber. The experience simulates an ocean dive, except the patient is not swimming in water – they are swimming in 100 percent oxygen.
After we “dive” them to 33 feet below sea level, oxygen is pressurized into the plasma of the blood. Typically, red blood cells carry oxygen molecules throughout the body, but when a wound is severe enough, the red blood cells cannot supply all the oxygen that it requires to heal. Because plasma can travel anywhere in the body, hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows it to carry oxygen to the wound. Additionally, the veins surrounding a wound may be too small or constricted for oxygen to pass through. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes a process called angiogenesis, where new blood vessels are developed.
What does hyperbaric oxygen therapy feel like?
Patients say the feeling is like going up and descending in an airplane.
How long do most patients endure hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
A patient will receive 10 to 50 treatments, depending on the severity of the wound. They will undergo therapy five days per week because we want to keep their oxygen level constant. Each session lasts 10 to 30 minutes.
Learn more about how you can benefit from the Institutes services by calling 512-353-6430.
About the Author: