How Is a Hyperbaric Chamber Used for Wound Treatment?


Quick Answer

A hyperbaric chamber delivers pressurized oxygen to the body, which speeds wound healing, according the Johns Hopkins Medicine. The patient lies in the chamber, which fills with pure oxygen at a pressure 2.5 times normal air pressure. Sessions last for 30 minutes to two hours.

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Full Answer

Most hospitals have single-patient hyperbaric chambers, called monoplaces, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Some hospitals have large pressurized rooms for treating several patients at once. A monoplace is a clear plastic tube about 7 feet long. The patient wears a 100 percent cotton gown and lies on a table that slides into the tube. During the procedure, the patient has the ability to talk to nurses and doctors and watch TV.

Pressurized-oxygen treatment speeds healing for many kinds of wounds, including radiation and heat burns, soft tissue infections, skin grafts, crush injuries, and diabetes-related wounds, maintains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The number of treatments necessary varies depending on the wound type and how well the patient responds to the treatment. Common side effects include ear popping and discomfort during the procedure and lightheadedness or tiredness immediately after the procedure. Rare side effects include damage to the ears or nose, vision difficulties, convulsions and decompression sickness. Patients with congestive heart failure sometimes have more heart problems after hyperbaric therapy.

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