Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100% oxygen while inside a treatment (hyperbaric) chamber at pressure that is roughly twice normal atmospheric pressure. This environment promotes development of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and growth of new tissue and skin within certain wounds. This therapy is also used in the treatment of other non-wound related problems such as delayed radiation injuries and selected infectious problems. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- promotion of wound healing
- increased oxygen delivery to injured tissues
- formation of new blood vessels
- preservation of damaged tissues
Wound dressings may be left in place during treatment because the healing effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy result from an oxygen-enriched bloodstream and not from direct contact with wound or skin.
When is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Used?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often prescribed as part of the treatment program for:
- diabetic wounds
- crush injury and suturing of severed limbs
- acute periphera arteria insufficiency
- preparation and preservation of compromised skin grafts
- chronic refractory osteomyelitis
- soft tissue radionecrosis
- late effects of radiation