Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is when a patient is enclosed in a chamber and is given 100% oxygen to breathe while the air pressure inside is increased. This treatment helps the body’s natural healing mechanisms work more effectively.
Many illnesses and injuries linger because enough oxygen can’t reach the damaged area to support the healing process.
HBOT provides extra oxygen that dissolves into all the body’s fluids and tissues, which allows it to be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. This allows oxygen to reach damaged bone and tissue, which promotes the body’s own healing process.
HBOT has been proven to promote healing of chronic wounds and acute injuries, and studies are showing promising results with improved function following traumatic brain injury, and for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. HBOT improves patient quality of life in many ways when standard medical treatment has not been successful.
Most patients are very comfortable and they either watch tv, listen to music/audiobook, or sleep.
Pressurization increases the temperature, so HBOT chambers are air conditioned for patient comfort.
Sometimes the pressure changes will make a patient’s ears feel full, like on an airplane. Some people find this uncomfortable. This will go away when the chamber decompresses at the end of the treatment session.
An HBOT session should be painless. If you experience any pain during an HBOT session, notify the hyperbaric technician.
HBOT involves being in a small, enclosed chamber for an extended period of time. For safety reasons decompression must be slow, so there is no rapid emergency exit if a patient is in distress.
Claustrophobia is a relative contraindication for HBOT. This means you need to discuss the issue with your doctor, and decide together whether it is the right choice for you.
The general recommendation is that claustrophobic patients who choose HBOT should take an anti-anxiety medication immediately prior to each treatment session.
Tobacco products interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Patients are strongly recommended to stop smoking, vaping and using any smokeless tobacco for the duration of the treatment plan.
An HBOT treatment session will be at a scheduled time. It varies based on patient needs, but an average session takes about 2 hours.
An HBOT treatment plan varies based on patient need and is determined by the hyperbaric doctor. The decision is based on the patient’s diagnosis and their body’s response to treatments.
On average, patients receive one treatment per day (Monday – Friday) for about 30 days.
Generally speaking, a patient with a chronic condition usually has a longer treatment plan than patients with acute conditions, such as an injury.
HBOT treatment is prescribed by a physician and performed under medical supervision. Although there is a minor risk of side effects as with any medical treatment, overall hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very safe.
The risks of properly administered HBOT are minimal. Most side effects are not commonly experienced, and many are very rare.
These mild, generally temporary side effects can occur:
HBOT treatments use proven safety methods, such as very slowly inducing pressure changes, to minimize risk and help prevent side effects.
The HBOT treatment process is straightforward and will be the same for each treatment.
Patients are only allowed to wear clean cotton clothing. No cosmetics, perfume, hair products, deodorants, wigs or jewelry are allowed.
Inform the technician if you are taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs or supplements.
Do not drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for 4 hours prior to a treatment session.
It is important to notify the technician if the patient:
Yes. NexGen Hyperbaric clinics all employ monoplace chambers, which are designed for a single patient. Treatment is administered with the patient lying on a gurney that is rolled into the chamber.
Chambers are clear acrylic, and patients remain in full view of technicians, and have contact at all times with an intercom.
Referring physicians must order a chest x-ray prior before a patient can receive HBOT treatment. This is to make sure the patient does not have an untreated pneumothorax (collapsed lung), a condition that makes it unsafe to receive HBOT.
Yes. Your doctor refers you for HBOT treatment, and stays in charge of your care. The hyperbaric clinic’s doctor serves as a consultant, working closely with your doctor to plan and manage your HBOT treatment.
It depends on the condition being treated.
Most insurance companies will cover hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment for conditions approved by the FDA.
However, off-label treatments such as those in successful clinical trials are still in the process of obtaining approval, and are considered an off label application. Insurance will generally not cover these treatments.
Your clinic’s staff will assist with determining if insurance coverage is available before treatment begins.
Off-label treatment is when a doctor prescribes a medication or therapy for something other than what it is FDA approved for. This is routine throughout medicine, because it’s common for the medical community to recognize when a treatment has a clear benefit for something else when treating patients for an approved condition.
Off-label use often leads to clinical studies that result in the formerly off-label condition becoming approved as well. One of the most famous examples of this is minoxidil (Rogaine), which was originally approved as a blood pressure drug, but is now used primarily for treating hair loss.
It is a standard practice to prescribe off label treatments when research supports them, but the years of additional studies and paperwork to secure FDA approval is ongoing. This is what NexGen Hyperbaric offers – early access to a safe therapy showing positive results in medical studies for new uses.
Yes, NexGen has participated in clinical trials for HBOT treatment of conditions such as traumatic brain injury. Patients interested in whether this is an option for them may contact us, and it can be discussed on a case by case basis.
The Undersea Hyperbaric & Medical Society is a nonprofit organization that sets rigorous patient treatment and facility standards within the hyperbaric medicine specialty.
UHMS Accreditation means an HBOT clinic meets the highest standards of patient care and safety, which is determined through a comprehensive evaluation of each facility’s equipment, staff and training.
UHMS membership and accreditation is not a requirement. It is an elevated level of operational excellence NexGen Hyperbaric chooses to provide for our patients. All of our clinics are submitted for and receive UHMS Accreditation.
Do you need to know something about how NexGen Hyperbaric can help you that isn’t covered here? Contact us and a member of our team will be glad to answer your questions.
The information provided by The Center For Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine LLC & NexGen Hyperbaric LLC does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied are being made. Please consult with our physicians or your own physician for a detailed medical evaluation of your own personal and specific health needs and recommendations.