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Hyperbaric Medicine / HBO (Burn, Wound & Oxygen Treatment)

The internationally recognized Hyperbaric Medicine  Department at Doctors Medical Center has been providing this unique treatment in West County since 1983.  Guided by Medical Director, Dr. Paul Cianci, and a team of specially trained physicians, the department is staffed with experienced, professional nurses, fully trained in the medical, physical, and mechanical aspects of hyperbaric medicine and cross-trained in critical care.  The Hyperbaric Medicine Department believes that the best measure of success is a cured patient.  The entire team works hard to provide compassionate care with positive outcomes.

 

How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy work?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (also known as HBO) is a Medicare and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment typically used to augment other treatments and enhance the body's natural healing process.  During HBO treatment the patient breaths higher concentrations of oxygen inside a pressurized chamber for short periods of time.  In an average setting, people breath a mixture of 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen.  Under hyperbaric therapy, a patient receives 100% oxygen, transporting high concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream.  The increased oxygen in tissue accelerates the healing rate of wounds, helps fight off certain types of infections, stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, improves circulation, and improves recovery from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Who can benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

HBO has long been used for underwater diving accidents and decompression sickness, but its theraputic properties are becoming an important supplement to a variety of medical conditions including: poorly healing skin grafts, chronic soft tissue, skin or bone infections, circulation problems, damage to the skin caused by radiation, and many other conditions.  By delivering up to 15 times more oxygen to damaged tissues than normal respiration, HBO increases white blood cells' ability to kill bacteria, reduce local swelling and promotes the growth of new blood vessels.  By effective acceleration of healing, HBO can decrease morbidity and long-term disability, shorten hospital stays, reduce cost of care, heal chronic wounds, and improve quality of life.

 

In addition to problem wounds, the hyperbaric chamber can be used to treat, or assist in the treatment of, a wide range of serious medical conditions such as:

  • Diabetic wound care
  • Radiation tissue damage (including osteoradionecrosis)
  • Thermal burns
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps after surgery
  • Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute traumatic ischemias
  • Air or gas embolism (from diving, indwelling catheters or laparoscopy)
  • Decompression sickness
  • Clostridial myonecrosis (gas gangrene)
  • Necrotixing soft tissue infections (subcutaneous tissue, muscle, fascia)
  • Exceptional blood loss (anemia)
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

For further information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.  You can also reach the Hyperbaric Medicine Department Monday through Friday at 510-970-5343.