Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Do you or a loved one have a wound that just won’t heal?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) at Saint Francis is a non-invasive and clinically tested approach to healing chronic and complex wounds.

Hyperbaric chamber 

How does it help?

The skin, organs and muscles that make up our bodies, require oxygen to remain healthy and function normally. Injured or diseased tissue requires extra oxygen to in order to survive and repair itself. HBO increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry to the cells, promoting healing and fighting infection.

How does it work?

HBO is a non-invasive, safe, and painless treatment option for wound care. During the therapy session, patients are placed in a specially designed hyperbaric chamber and breathe 100 percent oxygen at pressures up to three times the normal atmospheric pressure. This provides increased oxygen to damaged tissue - giving it the critical element necessary to fight infection and support the healing process. Many wounds that fail to improve with other therapies can be healed by HBO therapy.

How will I feel?

For a few minutes, as the chamber pressure slowly builds up, you may feel a sensation in your ears as though they are filling up. This is normal and due to the gas pressures on each side of your eardrum not being equal, which they are usually. Once you are at your treatment pressure there is no sensation of pressure because it is evenly distributed throughout your body.

Before you have your first treatment we will teach you a number of simple equalization techniques that will enable you to avoid ear discomfort. Your chamber operator will remind you of these at the start of each treatment and work with you to ensure you do not have problems.

As the pressure is reduced at the end of a treatment you may hear a "crackling" noise in your ears, this is also normal and should cause no discomfort.

How long does it take?

A typical treatment session lasts for little less than two hours. During this time, you can watch a movie or television; listen to the radio, or even sleep. A medical professional monitors you and the chamber throughout the session. The number of treatments required ranges from one to 60 - delivered over several weeks - and depends on your original medical condition and response to treatment.

What kinds of conditions can hyperbaric oxygen therapy treat?

  • Wounds that won’t heal
  • Skin or bone infection that causes tissue death
  • Radiation injuries (common after cancer treatment)
  • Gangrene
  • Skin grafts or skin flaps at risk of tissue death
  • Crush injuries
  • Air bubbles in blood vessels (arterial gas embolism)
  • Diving-related decompression sickness (the bends)
  • Burns
  • Carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning
  • Severe anemia

Learn more...