Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) works by increasing the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to body tissues through the bloodstream.
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), patients lie inside pressurized chambers breathing 100 percent pure oxygen (natural air contains 21 percent oxygen). HBOT works by increasing the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to body tissues through the bloodstream.
HBOT provides patients with the following benefits:
- Increased oxygen delivery to injured tissue.
- Greater blood vessel formation.
- Advanced wound healing.
- Improved infection control.
- Preservation of damaged tissues.
- Elimination or reduction of effects of toxic substances.
- Reduction or elimination of tissue obstruction by gas bubbles.
Sometimes it only takes one or two hyperbaric sessions to benefit from treatment. Some conditions may require as many as 40-50 treatments for maximum benefit. We’ll discuss your planned treatment with you in detail before starting therapy.
How to prepare for hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Smoking & caffeine
Because caffeine and tobacco products tighten the blood vessels and limit the amount of blood and oxygen that can be delivered to tissues, do not use tobacco and caffeine products during your treatment.
Because some medications change the body’s response to oxygen, it’s very important that you provide us with a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking. These will be discussed with you individually.
If during treatment you experience the symptoms of a cold or the flu (fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, body aches) please tell a team member right away. The symptoms may require a temporary delay in your treatment schedule. When your symptoms go away, treatments may continue.
What to wear and bring
You will be given a gown or cotton clothing to wear during therapy. Cotton reduces the potential for static electricity. Dentures and partial plates will be removed, and you may be asked to remove contact lenses and eyeglasses.
The following items are not allowed in the hyberbaric chamber:
- Personal items.
- All air- or chemically-activated heat wraps.
- Cigarettes, matches, lighters.
- Hairspray, make-up, perfume, deodorant, lotion, shaving cream, and other personal care products.
Lockers are available for your clothing and other items. Please do not bring valuable items to treatment.
What you'll experience
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are usually painless. You simply lie comfortably in the hyperbaric chamber. You can listen to music, watch TV, or nap. Because there’s no benefit from oxygen being in direct contact with your wounds, your dressings will most likely be left in place during treatment.
You may experience a sensation of fullness in your ears during certain stages of the treatment. This is caused by your eardrums responding to pressure changes in the chamber. It may remind you of flying in an airplane or driving in the mountains. Before treatment, you’ll be shown several easy ways to avoid ear discomfort.
Side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Patients usually don’t have side effects from HBOT. You may sense a “crackling” noise in your ears between treatments, which can be relieved in the same way that you clear your ears during pressure changes in the hyperbaric chamber. If the crackling continues, please tell a member of your team.
Sometimes patients report feeling light-headed for a few minutes following treatment. This sensation usually doesn’t last long or interfere with normal daily activities.
In rare cases, patients develop temporary changes in eyesight. Studies have shown that any altered vision will return to its pre-treatment status within six to eight weeks after treatment ends.
Like all medical treatments and procedures, there are some risks associated with HBOT. These risks are rare, and we will discuss them with you before you consent to therapy.