If you have a skin graft that is not healing as quickly as you would like it to, then hyperbaric medicine may be able to help. Hyperbaric medicine involves entering a pressurized chamber filled with 100% oxygen. Oxygen can help your skin graft heal, reduce infections, and can decrease the chances of skin graft failure.
What Is Hyperbaric Medicine?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT, is a type of therapy that uses oxygen to help increase your body’s natural healing processes. To receive care, the patient lies down in a single-person cylindrical chamber. The pressure in the chamber will slowly increase, and the patient will breathe 100% pure oxygen. The increased pressure allows oxygen to be delivered at as much as three times the concentration that would typically be available at atmospheric pressure. Once inhaled, the oxygen may begin healing tissue.
HBOT was initially used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness. Hyperbaric medicine now helps patients with wounds, infections, some skin grafts and flaps, and many other conditions. Some studies suggest that HBOT may even help improve Alzheimer’s, Autism, and signs of aging.
HBOT for Skin Grafts and Flaps
Physicians use skin grafts to help patients with damaged skin due to wounds, injuries, infections, or burns. Certain conditions, such as cancer, may also require skin removal as part of the treatment. Skin grafts offer a way to restore your skin’s function and appearance. Sometimes skin grafts fail, meaning the patient’s body rejects the skin. There are a few reasons that a skin graft can fail, including infections, poor vascularization, or the development of a hematoma. One of the most common reasons for failure is movement that stops the formation of blood vessels. Without blood vessels, the skin is deprived of oxygen and cannot survive.
HBOT can help provide your skin graft with oxygen to improve the chances of survival. The increased oxygen you will receive during treatment can help stimulate the growth of blood vessels in your skin graft. The formation of new blood vessels can help your skin graft heal and increase its chances of survival. Using HBOT can also make healing more comfortable, as it can reduce inflammation and swelling.
Researchers have studied the effects of hyperbaric medicine on wounds like skin grafts. Johns Hopkins found that hyperbaric treatment could help wounds heal faster and healthier. They also found that treatment could help prevent infections. Other surgeons and universities have also found hyperbaric therapy beneficial to the healing process.
Is HBOT Right for Me?
A University of Rochester study showed that 10-20% of wounds could benefit from hyperbaric therapy. You should consult a physician about whether you would be a good candidate for HBOT. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the treatment and whether it could be right for you.
What Is the Process Like at Aalto Medical?
We aim to provide a comfortable and positive experience with hyperbaric medicine. Before making your appointment, you need to make sure to obtain a prescription. You can get a prescription from your physician or set up an appointment with one of our physicians to get one. We require a prescription because the FDA classifies 100% pure oxygen as a drug. Once you have obtained a prescription, you are free to make an appointment.
What To Do in Preparation for Your Appointment
When you are preparing for your appointment, there are a few things you can do to help achieve the best results.
- Arrive showered and free from perfume and deodorant. Extra items like jewelry or wigs should be left at home.
- Keep your body as healthy as possible leading up to your appointment. Avoid using tobacco, as it can stop your body from transferring oxygen and hinder your treatment. Abstain from drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages for at least four weeks before coming in for HBOT.
- Consult with your physician about the medications you are on and if you can take them before an HBOT appointment.
- If you are sick, reschedule your appointment. The effects of HBOT can be delayed by a cold, flu, or fever.
- Set aside adequate time for treatment. Your appointment will last between 60 and 120 minutes You may have to do multiple rounds of HBOT before seeing the benefits.
What To Expect During Your Appointment
- One of our technicians will put you inside a single-person chamber. Our technicians will make sure you are comfortable and relaxed before sliding you into the chamber and starting your treatment.
- Once your treatment begins, the pressure in the chamber will gradually increase. During the compression and decompression of the chamber, you may feel pressure in your ears. You can pop them as you normally would when you feel this sensation.
- Depending on the condition being treated, your session can last anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes. You can listen to music, watch TV on the screen above your chamber, or even take a nap. All you have to do is breathe.
- Once your treatment is done, you may feel lightheaded or tired, but this will eventually subside. If you need some time to recover, let a technician know.
- If necessary, you can make another appointment with us once you have completed your treatment. The number of required treatments will vary based on the condition being treated and how you respond to it. Acute conditions like carbon monoxide poisoning typically require 1-2 treatments while chronic conditions may require 30 sessions minimum.
Experience the Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy With Us
If you have a skin graft and would like to try hyperbaric medicine, reach out to Aalto Hyperbaric today to schedule an appointment. Our hyperbaric oxygen therapy will help your skin build new blood vessels to support healthy tissue. We aim to provide high-quality care to our patients and will make sure you are comfortable and relaxed during your treatment. Receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help speed up your healing time and make the experience more comfortable. If you feel you are a good fit, make an appointment with one of our pharmacists to see what HBOT can do for you.