What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Our skin is our first line of defense against the environment. When it is damaged, our body has to work harder to fight off harmful agents and maintain a stable internal environment. At Little Company of Mary's Center for Complete Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy we will help your body repair damaged skin and help you feel whole again.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides one or more of the following effects; advanced wound healing, increased oxygen delivery to injured tissue, improved infection control, increased micro blood vessel formation, preservation of damaged tissues, elimination and reduced effects of toxic substances and radiation induced injury.
How it works
The air we breathe contains 21 percent oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides 100 percent oxygen. The “hyperbaric,” or high pressure, dose of oxygen offers distinct therapeutic benefits and can be used to treat a variety of conditions. It may be the primary treatment for some disorders, but is often combined with antibiotics and other forms of wound care treatment.
You will breathe 100 percent oxygen when you are placed in a comfortable hyperbaric unit. Our staff then pressurizes the chamber to your individual needs. The therapy greatly increases the amount of oxygen delivered to body tissues by your blood; however, the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen result from an oxygen-enriched blood stream and not from the oxygen’s direct contact with the wounds.
Treatments are individualized and based on your needs. You may require 20 to 40 treatments for maximum benefit. Your Little Company of Mary hyperbaric medicine team will discuss your treatment plan with you before therapy begins. The exact number of treatments will depend on your response to the therapy. If you’re hospitalized, treatments may be twice a day, while outpatient therapy can be once a day, five times a week.
How you will feel after therapy
We want you to feel as comfortable as if you were lying in your bed at home. You can listen to music, watch TV, or nap through the therapy. During parts of the treatment you may sense fullness in your ears – similar to when you’re flying in an airplane or driving down a mountain – as your eardrums respond to pressure changes.
Prior to treatment, you will be taught several easy methods to avoid ear discomfort. So lie back, relax and enjoy a comfortable treatment at our Center.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy usually has no side effects. Some patients report “cracking” in their ears between treatments. This can be relieved the same way ears are cleared of pressure changes during treatment.
On rare occasions, patients may develop temporary changes in eyesight. In these cases, any altered vision usually returns to pretreatment levels within six to eight weeks after treatment ends. Naturally, like all other medical treatments, hyperbaric oxygen therapy presents some risks, but these are quite rare and will be discussed with you before you agree to therapy.
Preparing for therapy
We will discuss the specific required preparations with you before treatment. Some of these include:
Tobacco products constrict blood vessels and limit blood and oxygen delivery to tissues.
List all medications
Some medications change your body’s response to oxygen, so it is very important that you give your Little Company hyperbaric medicine team a complete list of all medications you are taking.
Delay due to illness
Patients who experience cold or flu symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, or generalized body aches) should immediately notify a hyperbaric staff member. These symptoms may require a temporary delay in your treatment schedule.
Clothing is provided for treatment.
We will provide you with 100 percent cotton garments to wear during therapy. Also, personal items are not permitted in the hyperbaric therapy unit.
These items include:
- Cigarettes / matches / lighters
- Jewelry / all metal objects
- Hair spray / makeup
- Perfume / deodorant / shaving lotion
- Oils/ lotions / grease (hair/skin products)
- Books / magazines / other paper products
- Electronic devices
We will ask you to remove dentures, partial plates and hearing aids. We also may ask you to remove contact lenses. We provide lockers for your clothing and personal items. For your safety, please do not bring valuables to the Center.