Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an effective treatment for healing wounds quickly and effectively. Learn more about what the research says.

When suffering from a serious wound, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often something to consider. HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) promotes wound healing in three different ways.

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Wounds are one of the most dangerous traumas that the body can suffer. They expose the body to every infection, disease, and toxin that it comes into contact with. The skin is the body’s first line of immunological defense against invaders—a wound bypasses this defense and leaves the body open to disease.

The best way to protect the body and keep it from experiencing further trauma is to close the wound as quickly as possible. A wound needs oxygen to heal and close properly. The amount of oxygen in our natural environment will eventually close most wounds. However, hyperbaric oxygen (high-pressure oxygen) may be needed in other cases. Large, deep, or gangrenous wounds will often fail to heal on their own. If they do heal on their own, it may be too slow. This leaves the body open to infection or disease, which can be fatal.

The way a hyperbaric oxygen treatment is done differs from wound to wound and location to location. A clinic may use a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, where you receive high-pressure oxygen to your whole body. This is often the most effective way to do it if you have a large wound[1].  When you enter the chamber, it will be filled with pressurized oxygen. The pressure rises to 2.5 times the normal air pressure  and you remain in the environment for thirty minutes to two hours, depending on what your wound needs.

The amount of sessions you need for a wound depends on the size and severity of the wound.

Another way of receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a wound is topical application. A bag to hold the oxygen may be wrapped around the wound area—your leg for example—and then the oxygen is administered through the bag. However, this type of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wounds is not as effective as using a chamber and the research on its efficacy is mixed.

When suffering from a serious wound, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often something to consider. HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) promotes wound healing in three different ways. The oxygen helps a wound heal faster by fighting off infection that may have taken up residence in the wound, by hastening skin growth that will close the wound more quickly, and promoting the growth of small blood vessels[2].

It is good to keep your schedule clear after receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy so you have time to rest, recuperate, and let your wound heal. The amount of sessions you need for a wound depends on the size and severity of the wound.

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