Hyperbaric Medicine

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBO, is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber.

The therapy quickly delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream, assisting in the healing process of certain wounds and fighting specific types of infections.

It also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and improves circulation. Treatment is administered daily, and the number of treatments you receive depends on your diagnosis. We have three hyperbaric oxygen chambers available for patients.

Conditions We Treat

The following conditions are accepted indications, through the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), for using hyperbaric oxygen. These conditions, as long as all criteria are met, qualify for coverage by Medicare and most insurance plans.

  • Acute carbon monoxide intoxication
  • Decompression illness
  • Gas embolism
  • Gas gangrene
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
  • Crush injury and suturing of severed limbs
  • Progressive necrotizing infections (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Preparation and preservation of compromised skin grafts
  • Chronic refractory osteomyelitis
  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Actinomycosis
  • Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities

Our hyperbaric chambers are overseen by our certified hyperbaric technicians, one of whom is the center's safety director. Our center is fully accredited through the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

Frequently Asked Questions

Browse the information below for some FAQs about hyperbaric medicine and therapy including how to prepare, what to expect and more.

How do I find out if HBO therapy is for me?

You will need to be examined by a physician at the wound care center prior to starting hyperbaric treatment. Your doctor will evaluate your wound and will decide if hyperbaric treatment is appropriate for you.

Can someone stay with me during HBO 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 trained staff member is always in the room during your treatment. You can communicate with them at all times.

What should I wear to my appointment?

We put safety first. We will provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:
  • Makeup
  • Wigs or hair pieces
  • Nail polish
  • Loose fitting dentures
  • Contact lenses
  • Deodorants
  • Skin lotions
  • Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
  • Jewelry, including watches and earrings
  • Hair sprays or oils
  • You cannot have anything in your mouth such as gum, loose dentures, or candy during treatment.

How many treatments will I need and long do they last?

Treatment is different for each patient. It depends on the patient's condition and their response to therapy. Most patients receive between 30 and 40 treatments. Treatment will last about two hours, usually once daily, Monday through Friday.

What should I expect before treatment?

The HBO technician will take your vital signs. The technician will also listen to your lungs and examine the inside of your ears. Also, safety checks will be done before each treatment. If you have diabetes, your doctor will discuss blood sugar control with you. The HBO technician will check your blood sugar before and after each treatment. Take your medicine as prescribed and it is important to eat a good meal before arriving for treatment.

Is HBO therapy painful?

HBO is not painful. At the beginning of treatment, you may feel pressure in your ears. This is similar to the pressure you feel when flying in an airplane or driving through the mountains. You may have to clear your ears. The HBO staff will instruct you on methods for clearing your ears:
  • Swallow
  • Yawn
  • Open and close your mouth
  • Tilt head from side to side

What should I tell my doctor before I begin HBO therapy?

Tell your doctor if you have:
  • An internal battery operated medical device such as a pacemaker or pain pump. The staff will make sure your device can be used in the chamber.
  • If you have an external battery operated medical device, it cannot go into the chamber. Your HBO physician will contact your doctor for instructions on how to deal with this device.
  • Inform your HBO doctor if you have EVER had chemotherapy.

What if I'm claustrophobic (afraid of small spaces)?

When you are in the chamber you can see out in all directions. If you are anxious, the doctor can prescribe medicine to help you relax.

Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?

Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for specific types of chronic non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare rules. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you understand any fees.