Oxygen therapy to treat hard-to-heal wounds

Baylor Scott & White Health uses oxygen therapy to treat hard-to-heal wounds that come from diabetes and diabetic neuropathy, soft-tissue damage from skin grafts and cancer radiation therapy, as well as to help salvage limbs. Oxygen therapy is when oxygen is used to begin or speed up the healing process.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has you breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, which increases the oxygen levels in body tissue to help heal and fight infection. One benefit is blood vessel growth in areas that have been deprived of oxygen due to poor blood flow. Increased blood flow to the area of an oxygen-starved wound also results in increased healing.

Comprehensive wound programs at Baylor Scott & White have several types of hyperbaric oxygen chambers at various locations. Monoplace chambers can hold only one person at a time, whereas a multispace chamber is designed to hold up to eight people at once. Each hyperbaric oxygen therapy session typically last approximately 90 minutes.

Conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy

  • Diabetic lower extremity wounds—open sores on the foot or leg, especially those involving infection or gangrene
  • Skin graft or flap preservation following plastic surgery or amputation
  • Radiation injury—abnormal tissue breakdown following radiation therapy for cancer (called osteoradionecrosis when it involves bone)
  • Chronic, refractory osteomyelitis—bone infection that has not resolved with standard antibiotic therapy

What to expect during your hyperbaric oxygen treatment

Our outpatient treatment locations have innovative hyperbaric oxygen chambers made from transparent material that allow you to see your surroundings and continuous contact with the technician.

At the time of each hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment, you will spend about 90 minutes in a pressurized chamber breathing pure oxygen. During this time, you will be able to rest, listen to music or watch a movie on the TV in the chamber.

You will have constant communication with a technician outside the oxygen chamber.

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