Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in your blood. This is an essential component in the treatment of some chronic wounds. A hyperbaric chamber resembles a reclining bed inside a large acrylic shell. Patients are surrounded by 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure. This pressure helps oxygen pass more easily through your system and into the wound to help it heal.
HBO Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions does hyperbaric oxygen therapy treat?
- Wounds that have not shown improvement in more than four weeks
- Certain bone and skin infections
- Slow-to-heal wounds due to diabetes
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Compromised or failing skin grafts and flaps
- Radiation burns
- Complications from radiation treatments for cancer that can include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Difficulty with urination
- Inability to swallow
How long do treatments last?
On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber, plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment level.
How many treatments will I need?
On average, a patient with a chronic wound will require 20 – 40 treatments to heal.
How often will I require treatment?
For most chronic wounds, HBO therapy is prescribed daily, Monday through Friday.
Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?
Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of chronic non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare's guidelines. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you know what your costs will be.
Is HBO therapy painful?
HBO therapy is not painful. The only physical sensation you will feel from your treatment is slight pressure on your eardrums during the pressurization phase of the treatment. During this phase, pressure slowly increases and pushes on your eardrums, feeling similar to that felt on an airplane or when diving into a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you on different methods to relieve the pressure.
Is HBO therapy dangerous?
No, the treatment is very safe. Our Wound Healing Center has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Prior to your initial treatment, you will be given a thorough physical examination by one of our experienced hyperbaric physicians.
What can I do during HBO therapy?
Each chamber is equipped with its own television so that you can watch TV or a movie during your treatment. You may not bring anything in the chamber with you, including books and newspapers. Many patients simply use the time to catch up on some well-deserved rest.
Are there bathroom facilities in the chamber?
No, however it is possible to take a bedpan or urinal in with you during your treatment. The staff can finish the treatment early, if required.
What if I feel claustrophobic?
Most hyperbaric patients do not become claustrophobic during treatment. This could be due to either the large size of the chamber or the fact that it has a clear acrylic shell. From inside the chamber, it is possible to see out in all directions. If you still feel anxious about your treatment, the hyperbaric physician can prescribe medication that will relax you and make your treatment less stressful.
Can I communicate during therapy?
The chamber is equipped with two-way communication. You can talk to staff at any time.
Can someone stay with me during therapy?
To protect the privacy of our patients, family members may not remain with you during your treatment. A waiting room is provided for their comfort. A licensed nurse is always in the room during treatment and can communicate with you at any time.
What should I wear?
We will provide you with clothing to wear during treatment. Please do not wear any of the following Items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:
- Contact lenses
- Wigs or hair pieces
- Nail polish
- Skin lotions
- Vaseline-based products
- Perfume, cologne or aftershave
- Jewelry, including watches and earrings
- Hair spray or oils
What should I bring with me?
Although you are not required to bring anything, you are welcome to bring a movie. If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the nurse know so we can make you more comfortable.
How do I find out if HBO is for me?
If you have a wound that has not healed in four weeks, call the Wound Healing Center at 513-585-4595. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an appropriate part of the treatment plan. One of our physicians at the center will evaluate your wound and determine the best course of treatment.
Conveniently located on the main hospital campus in Mt. Auburn:
2123 Auburn Ave. | Suite 335
Cincinnati, OH 45219