Emerson Hospital Center for Advanced Wound Care

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is a treatment in which you breathe 100 percent pure oxygen while lying inside a pressurized chamber made of clear acrylic. The air pressure inside the chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This high-pressure dose of oxygen helps your blood carry more oxygen to your organs and tissues to promote wound healing. It also activates your white blood cells to fight infection.

Patients typically receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy five days a week for four to six weeks. One treatment takes about two hours, and most patients find it comfortable and relaxing. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used as part of the treatment for certain conditions, including the following:

  • Slow to heal or non-healing wounds
  • Diabetic foot ulcers or leg ulcers
  • Non-healing skin grafts or surgical flaps
  • Surgical wounds that have opened
  • Symptoms occurring on or around a point of radiation (such as pain, rectal or bladder bleeding)
  • Chronic bone infections (osteomyelitis)
  • Crush injuries
  • Certain types of sudden hearing loss
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Thermal burns

Preparing for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

A medical doctor will tell you how many treatments are needed for your diagnosis. During your treatment, you may watch television or a movie, or take a nap.

You will be given a hospital gown to wear in the chamber. No cosmetics, perfumes, hair preparations, deodorants, wigs, jewelry or electronic devices are allowed in the chamber. Most pacemakers are allowed in the chamber. The hyperbaric technologist will need to know if you are taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs. You are advised not to drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for four hours prior to treatment. Smoking and the use of tobacco products interferes with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Therefore, your doctor will work with you on techniques to help stop smoking during the treatment period.

Following your treatment plan is the single most important factor in your healing.

If you have questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or to schedule a consult, Contact the Center for Advanced Wound Care.


Hyperbaric Therapy Works Wonders for Lexington Woman

Savita suffered sudden onset hearing loss as a result of a virus. Thanks to hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Emerson’s Center for Advanced Wound Care, her hearing has returned and she's been able to get back to her life as a busy mom and technology professional.