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Treatment of Chronic Wounds Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

May 04, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
More than five million Americans suffer from chronic wounds that will not heal. Often, these wounds won’t heal due to a variety of factors such as obesity, age, diet, circulatory problems, diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, and smoking. These wounds can become infected, requiring amputation in extreme cases, if not treated in a timely and effective manner.

The life of all muscles, skin, bones, and organs depend on the oxygen concentration found within. Oxygen is supplied to these tissues by a person’s blood vessels. But with certain conditions, such as diabetes, prior surgery with scar tissue, or radiation therapy for cancer, there is a possibility that microscopic blood circulation can be affected. If the circulation is affected, the oxygen concentration in certain areas may be low. This greatly reduces the body’s ability to heal itself – especially if the body develops a wound.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment in which a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen (O2) inside a pressurized treatment chamber. It increases blood and tissue oxygen content. In other words, this medical treatment “super-oxygenates” wounds, creating new microscopic blood vessel growth to approximately 85 percent of normal tissue. The new growth helps improve oxygen delivery, therefore enhancing wound healing.

At wound healing centers across the country, thousands of patients are treated with HBOT each day. Treatments are convenient: usually they are daily Monday through Friday and run for approximately four to eight weeks. The length of each treatment is 90 minutes. To pass the time, patients can watch television, a movie, or listen to music while receiving treatment.

After their daily treatments, patients are able to return to their regular routines.

Facilities such as the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center specialize in the treatment of chronic wounds and HBOT. They feature hyperbaric oxygen chambers and also have specially-trained hyperbaric nurses. The medical staff includes internal medicine specialists, infectious disease specialists, podiatrists, emergency, general, and plastic surgeons. Remember if you have a wound that will not heal, contact your health care provider today. Treatments, as mentioned above, are covered by most health insurance plans.

“Treatment of Chronic Wounds…” provided by the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

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