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.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an effective form of treatment used for conditions relating to oxygen depletion within the cells and tissues of the body. This can include conditions such as decompressions sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, various types of embolisms, radiation injuries, and wounds that aren’t healing properly.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, like any treatment, can sometimes cause mild side effects. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your medical history, any current medications, and current health conditions with your physician before beginning treatment. Side effects can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, ear pain, headache, and skin rashes. However, these are temporary and only occur in certain patients.
Yes, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is very effective in treating various health conditions and diseases. Due to the influx of high concentration pure oxygen to the cells and tissues, many chronic ailments, injuries, and health conditions can be improved through the use of this treatment. Issues such as crush injuries, osteomyelitis, diabetes, and more are often resolved successfully with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Yes, this is a possible outcome for many patients of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy due to the introduction of high levels of oxygen to the blood and tissues. When tissue is damaged, it is often depleted of oxygen and requires additional oxygen in order to heal. The high concentration and purity of the oxygen in Hyperbaric treatment infuse the tissue with the oxygen it needs in order to heal, plus more. This enhances the body’s natural healing ability, speeding along the healing process for all kinds of internal and external wounds.
Athletes use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to speed their recovery from injuries, as a preventative measure for potential injuries, and to boost overall health. Thanks to the influx of oxygen that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy provides, oxygen-depleted tissue is healed, healthy tissue growth is promoted, and connective tissue is regenerated. Injuries such as cranial abscesses, crush injuries, and other trauma-related injuries typically respond very well to treatment, allowing athletes to resume activity as normal in a shorter time period.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on mental health, including depression, PTSD, and anxiety, among other conditions. For example, Dr. Paul Harch conducted a study on military personnel, in which the subjects received 40 Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy sessions. Over 50% of the subjects with PTSD were no longer diagnosable after the 4-week study. This was due to the increased oxygen flow Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy provides, which benefits the brain as well as the rest of the body, creating positive effects on mental health.
There are many benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, due to the increased oxygen supply in the body. Some of them include:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is helpful in many conditions that require additional blood oxygen concentration or assistance in re-establishing blood flow. These conditions are often unresponsive to other forms of treatment, or the patients only see modified results. Such conditions as decompression sickness, non-healing wounds, ischemic injuries, crush injuries, and carbon monoxide poisoning are examples of those that are typically challenging to treat, but that respond well to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
That depends on your individual circumstances, as the aftereffects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can vary. You may feel relaxed or sleepy, while it’s also possible that you feel more energetic and focused. You may experience immediate pain or symptom relief, a clearer mind, or a sensation of fullness in your ears or sinuses. There are many possible outcomes for how you might feel after treatment, but whatever the temporary effects might be, you will feel better in the long run.
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.
That will depend on your unique health condition. While some patients are fully healed with just a few sessions, certain types of wounds require as many as 30-40 treatments to completely resolve. This information will be covered in your consultation before you begin treatment, though the treatment plan can sometimes change depending on the individual case, due to faster or slower healing time.
You will enter a chamber known as a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, which is a sealed and sterile environment. Once inside, you are immersed in pure oxygen at a higher concentration rate (around 1.5 to 3 times higher) than air. Sessions typically last from 90 minutes to two hours depending on the condition you’re receiving treatment for. During this time, breathe deeply in order to absorb the oxygen as fully as possible, relax, and enjoy your session!
After Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy sessions are over, many patients report feeling relaxed or sleepy, while others feel energetic and well-rested. Some patients notice immediate relief from pain, swelling, or other symptoms, while others need more sessions to feel the healing effects. A sensation of fullness in the ears or sinuses is also common but passes relatively quickly.
The cost of sessions varies on several factors, including the reason for therapy, how many sessions a patient will need, and the individual provider’s fees. However, while it’s not so common knowledge, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is covered as outpatient treatment by commercial insurance and Medicare/Medicaid. The conditions covered include:
This depends largely on the patient, their reason for treatment, and the severity of their condition or injury. A typical session lasts anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours; however, each patient requires a different number of sessions to complete treatment. The course of treatment can range from days to months depending on the individual situation. This will be discussed at your consultation before beginning treatment.
This is not recommended, as the possibility of side effects and how each patient will respond individually can’t be predicted. Some patients feel fine after their treatment, whereas others are sleepy, experience headaches or nausea, or feel dizzy. Because of this, you will be informed by your provider that you can’t drive for 24 hours after your sessions as a safety precaution.
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.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is safe for most patients, with the only true exception being those with untreated pneumothorax, otherwise known as a collapsed lung. This is because of the potential of causing tension pneumothorax, or trapped air between the lung and chest wall, which is a medical emergency.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a generally safe procedure, with complications being rare. However, it does carry some potential risks, including:
Many types of wounds are treated successfully using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Diabetic foot ulcers, burn wounds, any wounds contracted by exposure to high pressure, and non-healing wounds are all examples of candidates for being treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Also, internal wounds such as crush injuries and other trauma-related internal injuries typically benefit greatly from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Because increasing oxygen concentration in affected areas is key to a full and speedy recovery, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is the most effective method of treatment for wound healing. When wounds are oxygenated effectively with a high concentration of pure oxygen, the body’s natural healing response is activated and enhanced, allowing a full recovery in a shorter period of time.
Wound treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy involves the immersion in pure, high concentration oxygen within a Hyperbaric chamber. Tissues receive much-needed oxygen and regenerate, infections are resolved or prevented by strengthening white blood cells, and increased blood flow to the area promotes faster, more complete healing of the wound.
When a wound is healing, the patient will notice less pain. They will also observe that the skin around the wound returns to its normal color, any scabs present shrink and eventually dissolve, and their body starts to feel like itself again. Discoloration, redness, discharge, heat coming from the wound site, and extreme tenderness are all signs of potential infection and should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Wound healing happens in 3 phases. They are as follows:
Inflammatory Phase — This phase includes platelet clotting and blood vessel constriction to mitigate blood loss, and an influx of white blood cells to prevent infection. It typically lasts between 1 and 4 days from the date of injury.
Proliferative Phase — This phase begins around day 3 post-injury, and includes collagen production, new blood vessel formation, and epithelial tissue repair.
Remodeling Phase — This phase can continue up to 1-year post-injury, and includes increased collagen production, tissue contraction, and the strengthening of new tissue.
Yes, thanks to the influx of highly concentrated pure oxygen. The wounds treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy have typically not responded well to other forms of treatment, such as antibiotics or other standard wound care. This is likely because these wounds involve tissues that require additional blood oxygen to heal completely, which they can’t get from most standard forms of treatment.
This depends largely on the patient, the condition being treated, and the severity of the condition or wound. While most sessions last between 90 minutes and 2 hours, the course of treatment is different for everyone. It is generally recommended that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used once or twice a week throughout the course of treatment, but again, each case is different.
The benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy are many and include wound healing, treatment of various health conditions, and reversing carbon monoxide poisoning, among others. For a detailed explanation of how you might benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, contact NexGen Hyperbaric for a complete breakdown of the conditions they treat.
Yes, many professional athletes benefit from the regular use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Because of its ability to speed wound healing, promote healthy tissues and blood flow, and increase alertness, many athletes consider it a preventative measure as well as a way to promote overall health. Staying in the top physical condition is a professional athlete's job, and the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help them to do that.
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.