What to Expect During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What to Expect During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

It’s not particularly well known, but hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been used for decades to help wounds starved of oxygen heal more effectively and resist new or persistent infection.

Vascular surgeon and wound care specialist Dr. Farouk Marzouk of Frontier Medical Care in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York, shares insight about HBOT, why it works, and what to expect during your treatments.

What is HBOT?

HBOT is an essentially painless outpatient therapy that takes place in a hyperbaric (pressurized) chamber. The air within the chamber contains a much higher level of oxygen than you would normally breathe, 100% in the chamber compared to about 21% in room air.

The increased oxygen levels allow your lungs to absorb more oxygen, which is then transported throughout your body via the bloodstream.

How can higher oxygen levels help with wound healing?

Tiny structures within your cells (mitochondria) rely on oxygen transported via your bloodstream to convert various nutrients in your diet to the energy required for normal cell function.

Your body requires increased energy to heal tissue damage caused by infection, inflammation, and injury. HBOT, by increasing the amount of oxygen available in your blood, helps speed the healing process by providing more energy at the cellular level.

Other ways that HBOT helps heal chronic wounds include:

HBOT also increases stem cell production, which supports healing by triggering the release of growth factors necessary for tissue repair and new tissue growth.

What to expect during hyperbaric oxygen therapy

During an HBOT session, which normally lasts 1-2 hours, you lie comfortably on a table that slides into the clear plastic chamber, which is normally about 7 feet long.

You won’t be able to use a tablet or any electronic device in the chamber during the session but you can watch television through the clear plastic or use the time to close your eyes and relax.

Your ears may pop as the chamber is closed and fills with oxygen at 2.5 times normal air pressure.

You’re monitored carefully during the treatment and can converse at any time with the technician, who remains in the room throughout the session. Once your session is over, you can resume your normal daily activities.

Wounds that may respond to HBOT include:

Most chronic wounds respond best to several HBOT sessions, which are typically combined with other therapies for optimal healing.

For more information about chronic wound treatment or any of the other services we offer, schedule a visit by phone or online with Dr. Marzouk at Frontier Medical Care today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Caring for an Infected Wound

Wounds come in all shapes and sizes, and most heal well with commonsense home care. However, infection is always a possibility and requires more advanced treatment. Learn how to spot the signs and what to do for an infected wound.

Am I at Risk for DVT?

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot most often forms in the deep veins of the legs and can pose a significant health risk. Our vein specialist discusses what increases your chance of developing a clot and the symptoms to watch for.

What Causes Fat to Build Up in Your Arteries?

High cholesterol linked to poor dietary choices is likely the most famous cause of fatty buildup in your arteries. However, several other factors can contribute to this potentially life-threatening condition, which may begin in childhood.

Take These Steps to Prevent Wound Infection

There are simple steps you can take at home to help prevent a wound infection from compromising your health. Our specialty team explains how to do that and why some wounds require a specialist’s attention.