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Healing in O2

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment for a wide range of diseases and conditions. It enhances the body’s natural healing process by allowing patients to breathe 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The pressure is increased to almost three times higher than normal air pressure; therefore, your lungs can absorb more oxygen than would be possible while breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

When is HBOT needed?

Your doctor may suggest HBOT for the following conditions:

  • Chronic diabetic wounds
  • Delayed radiation injuries
  • Compromised skin flaps or grafts
  • Bone or soft tissue infections
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Acute thermal burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Gas gangrene

How does it help?

Your body's tissues need oxygen to function. HBOT increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry and thereby promotes healing while fighting infection. Under normal circumstances, oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells. With HBOT, oxygen is delivered to the entire body and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished. In this way, extra oxygen can reach all of the damaged tissues, and the body can support its own healing process. The increased oxygen enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly in the affected areas.

What to expect

HBOT is a simple, noninvasive and painless treatment. Most treatments, often called "dives," last approximately two hours. Patients with diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic wounds may undergo treatment five days a week for 30 to 60 days.

What are the side effects?

Complications from HBOT are extremely rare, but as with any medical procedure, there are some risks. Side effects may include:

  • Injury to the middle ear
  • Temporary nearsightedness
  • Lung damage
  • Seizure
  • Claustrophobia

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about HBOT, please contact Jackson's advanced Wound & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at 334-293-8138.

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