What is hyperbaric treatment?
Hyperbaric treatment is a treatment modality involving the inhalation of pure oxygen under pressure in a controlled medical setting. Patients are placed in a comfortable chamber that increases oxygen intake 10–15 times greater than what the average person breathes in one day. The increased pressure accelerates oxygen dissolution into your blood, allowing injured or damaged to cells to replicate themselves quickly and create healthy, new cells.
What conditions can be treated with hyperbaric therapy?
Multiple conditions have been known to benefit from hyperbaric therapy. Among them are the following CMS-approved (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) conditions, which are covered by most insurance plans:
• Non-healing lower-extremity diabetic wounds
• Compromised skin grafts and flaps
• Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs
• Progressive necrotizing infections
• Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
• Wagner Grade III or higher wounds
• Carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning
• Decompression illness
• Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
• Acute thermal burns
• Gas embolism or gangrene
• Osteo-radionecrosis and soft tissue radionecrosis
• Idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss
A variety of other conditions are still considered “investigational” by insurance, although hyperbaric treatment has proved effective on them in many countries. Among many, non CMS-approved conditions include:
• Chronic headaches
• Peripheral nerve damage
• Cerebral palsy
• Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction
• Post-concussion syndrome
• Sports injuries
• Lyme disease
• Memory loss
• Near drowning
What are the benefits of hyperbaric treatment?
Because hyperbaric therapy heals you by pumping oxygen into your injured body and brain through your circulatory and pulmonary systems, the benefits are fast-acting:
• Required extra oxygen delivered at cellular and tissue levels with minimal side effects
• Damaged cells able to function beyond a maintenance level to allow for maximum healing
• Accelerated growth of new blood cells
• Increases availability of neurotransmitters
• Decreased recovery time of wounds and injuries
• Enhanced white blood cell production to kill bacteria and infection
• Stimulates normal remodelling of bone
• Reduced inflammation
• Reversed damage from radiation therapy
• Deactivates toxins and facilitates metabolic waste elimination
What happens during hyperbaric treatment?
Hyperbaric treatment is a simple, relaxing process, complete with an entertainment system. You can watch TV or even catch up on your sleep while the hyperbaric technicians go about their work.
First, your ears are checked to be sure no acute ear infections will complicate your “dive” into the hyperbaric chamber. Then, you’re provided a gown, and you are carefully placed in a transparent tube for a period of time dependent on your condition. You may return for repeat sessions to properly mitigate your symptoms.
Is hyperbaric therapy covered by insurance? If I do not have insurance, what is the out-of-pocket cost?
A variety of indications like carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burns are covered by insurance. As for unapproved indications or for some patients without insurance, our facility does provide significant discount options consistent with Medicare’s fee schedule. Otherwise, financing can be provided through third-party companies.
Are there any side effects of hyperbaric therapy?
As with any medical treatment, you always face the possibly of side effects. However, hyperbaric therapy is non-invasive and probably the safest procedure in medicine, so complications are very rare.
The most common reported side effect isotic/sinus barotrauma. (This condition is the reason we always make sure our patients don’t have any sinus or ear infections prior to entering the chamber.)Other risks include pulmonary barotrauma, which is the most rare, and oxygen-related seizures, which only happen at a very high pressure rarely used for medical indications. A risk of myopia may also occur, usually in the older population and only after multiple treatments. Myopia is almost always reversible.
Are there contraindications for hyperbaric therapy?
One absolute contraindication exists for HBOT – untreated pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Other relative contraindications are related to specific medications administered recently or within the last 12 months, including Adriamycin, doxorubicin, bleomycin, cisplatin, disulfiram, and amiodrane. For this reason, it’s essential that you update your medical list with your local HBOT center.
Other relative contraindications include high fever, pregnancy, upper respiratory infection, sinusitis, history of optic neuritis, and congestive heart failure.
Can I bring a book or my tablet for entertainment?
Regrettably, no. Due to the high risk of spontaneous combustion sparked by flammable materials like paper, lithium batteries, and synthetic clothing in such an oxygen-rich environment, we prohibit such materials. We also ask you not to apply any cream, lotion, hair gel, or spray prior to your visit. We understand the inconvenience, but know that our rules are based on your safety and well-being. We do provide a built-in TV entertainment system, gown, pillows, and blankets to keep you comfortable.