Q. I have had a wound on my foot for a while that won't go away. What should I do?
A. If you suffer from a chronic wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days or a medical condition such as diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, bone infections, radiation skin irritations or vascular disorders resulting in poor blood circulation, your doctor may prescribe hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO).
The Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing Center uses HBO to treat patients referred by a variety of medical specialists such as primary care physicians, internists, podiatrists, radiation oncologists, dentists, gynecologists, neurologists and urologists.
"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is effective in treating wounds that have not responded to traditional treatments, as well as for rare conditions such as decompression sickness and advanced soft tissue infections", explains Larry Stern, MD, Medical Director of the Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing.
While receiving treatment, patients watch movies while relaxing on a bed encased in a large see-through plastic shell as they are surrounded by 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure which enables oxygen molecules to pass through the plasma to the body more easily and speed healing.
"Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be new to many patients, it is a common treatment for people suffering from chronic leg ulcers. The results of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on diabetic wounds is astonishing—even when other treatments have failed, hyperbaric oxygen has been known to save limbs from amputation,” says Stern.
What new HBO patients can expect:
- As on a plane, the only sensation patients experience is a slight pressure in the ears as the pressure changes.
- An intercom system keeps patients in contact with technicians.
- In most instances, Medicare, Medicaid and the majority of insurance plans cover HBO.
For more information about HBO and other treatments for chronic wounds, contact the Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing Center at 330-263-8750.