Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The treatment has existed in some form for centuries. In 1662, an English physician called Henshaw built a chamber in which he used bellows to increase or decrease the air pressure. He believed that increased air pressure would cure acute conditions while decreased air pressure would cure chronic conditions.
The first clinical studies about the impact of air pressure on health were conducted in the mid-19th century. During this time, hyperbaric oxygen therapy began to be used to treat decompression sickness and some lung ailments.
What happens during the treatment?
The patient sits or lies in a special chamber in which the air pressure can be increased to up to three times normal air pressure. Pure oxygen is pumped into the room, and the patient breathes it in. The increased pressure ensures that the patient breathes in more oxygen than they would under normal pressure. The average session lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours. The number of sessions needed depends on how well the patient responds to the hyperbaric oxygen therapy and what they are being treated for.
The human body needs oxygen to function, and it needs more oxygen than usual in the case of an injury. Increasing the oxygen in the blood promotes healing and helps fight infection by raising an injured tissue’s functions to at least normal levels.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy used to treat?
In addition to decompression sickness, which is more commonly known as “the bends,” hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat burns, gangrene, skin or bone infections, skin grafts that aren’t healing properly, and other wounds that also are not healing properly. It is also used to treat severe anemia, sudden deafness, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
How should a patient prepare for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
The patient can wear only clean cotton clothing while in the chamber. They are not allowed to wear jewelry, watches or wigs in the chamber. They must not use perfume, deodorant, make-up or hair care products. Since tobacco prevents the body from transporting oxygen effectively, the patient is strongly urged to not use tobacco products during the treatment period. The patient should also not have any alcohol or soft drinks for at least four hours before a session.
The most common side-effect associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a popping in the ears similar to that experienced during a plane ride. The doctor will instruct the patient on how to handle the change in air pressure that causes the popping.
Who should not undergo Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Since certain prescription medications can interfere with the treatment, a prospective patient should tell their doctor if they have recently taken or are currently on a prescription. People with lung injuries or respiratory ailments should not undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy since it can exacerbate their condition. That applies even if the patient has something as mild as a cold.
People with claustrophobia (pathological fear of enclosed spaces) will likely experience increased anxiety while in the chamber. The pressurized oxygen can also increase the risk of trauma for patients with a history of ear surgery. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can also trigger seizures in people with seizure disorders.
At Facial Aesthetic Concepts in Orange County, we can integrate Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy into preoperative and postoperative care to ensure you get the best results. Contact Facial Aesthetic Concepts today to learn more.