Your path to wound healing starts here
If you have a stubborn wound that won’t go away, NMC Health has a superhero wound care team that can swoop in to save the day.
With the help of the latest medical advancements in wound healing, we offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
What we treat
This type of therapy has been proved effective for many medical conditions. HBOT is used to treat:
- Skin grafts and flaps that aren’t healing
- Crush injuries
- Compartment syndrome
- Injuries from radiation
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Refractory osteomyelitis (chronic bone infections)
Emergency HBOT services like the following are NOT offered at NMC Health’s Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center:
- Air or gas embolisms
- Central retinal artery occlusion
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Gas gangrene
- Decompression sickness
- Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
- Intracranial abscesses
- Severe anemia
- Thermal burns
What to expect during hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
During therapy sessions, you will breathe pure oxygen while inside of a hyperbaric chamber. The oxygen will reach all areas of your body, which will help new, healthy cells to grow faster. It can also help kill any bacteria that is sensitive to oxygen. You should notice less swelling, too.
The procedure is painless. Typical treatments last for about two hours. Depending on your diagnosis and how your body is responding to the treatment, you can expect to go into the chamber 20-40 times.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the NMC Health Medical Center Emergency Department.
HBOT is an advanced form of therapy that uses a pressurized, oxygen-rich environment to help your body heal itself. Think of it like laying down on your couch just breathing and watching TV.
When you surround your whole body with rich oxygen, it doesn’t just flow through your lungs, it pushes into all your tissue.
The reason some wounds won’t heal may have something to do with there not being enough oxygen levels in the soft tissue. HBOT allows for oxygen to get to those troublesome areas and enhances the body’s natural healing.
When you have an HBOT session, the procedure is giving the body a charge of oxygen, with few side effects. This can increase circulation and help your body jumpstart the healing process. Therefore, you are likely to find a greater quality of life with wounds that are no longer with you.
When you’re inside the chamber, you will hear the air as it gradually compresses inside the chamber. You’ll be able to speak with your nurse the whole time. At this point, you may relax and take a nap or watch a movie.
The whole treatment will last about two hours. When your treatment is almost over, the nurse will start to decompress the air from the chamber over a span of about 10 minutes. Your ears may pop during this part of the therapy, similar to what it’s like during an airplane descent.
The side effects associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are minimal. However, you might notice slight discomfort like:
- Pressure inside your ears, like the feeling of being in an airplane
- Temporary changes in your vision
- Feeling more tired than normal
Tell your doctor if you’re suffering from a cold or sinus infection, as these can make you more susceptible to experiencing side effects.
If you’re diabetic, a nurse will take your blood sugar before your HBOT session, as the therapy can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar. If your levels are low, you may have to reschedule your appointment.
Before starting HBOT, you will have a consultation and education with the Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse and the Hyperbaric trained physician. During this visit, your care team will go over your medical history. Be sure to bring a list of medicines.
Typically, HBOT is covered under insurance. It is always a good idea to call your insurance company before making an appointment to see whether a service is covered. You do not need a referral to make an appointment with NMC Health Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center unless your insurance requires one.
The wound clinic will get prior authorization on HBOT so you can be assured your treatment is covered.
Tell your nurse if you are claustrophobic and they will help you through the therapy. You will be able to see outside the chamber. While inside, you’ll be able to see and communicate with the nurse. You can also listen to music, watch a movie or relax.