Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy FAQs
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a mode of treatment that involves delivering high doses of oxygen to the body. It is done by breathing 100 percent oxygen through special head gear while inside a pressurized air treatment room. HBOT is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment that has been proven to heal ailments and wounds that have been resistant to standard therapy.
The pressure in the treatment room causes the oxygen you breathe to be dissolved in your blood, much like pressure causes carbon dioxide to be dissolved in soda pop. This extra oxygen is used by the body in many ways, such as reducing swelling, controlling infection and stimulating the growth of new blood vessels. It allows for conditions such as non-healing wounds to heal when they otherwise would not.
What conditions does HBOT treat?
Common medical conditions treated with HBOT include chronic non-healing diabetic foot wounds, compromised skin grafts and flaps, chronic bone infection and bone/tissue injury resulting from radiation therapy.
Does this treatment really work?
Yes. HBOT has been shown to be extremely beneficial in healing and reducing the severity of wounds. It markedly decreases the need for amputation. In addition, it is extremely effective at healing radiation-induced injuries. In patients who comply with the treatment regimen recommended by their doctors, healing rates of 85-95 percent are the norm.
National studies indicate HBOT is four times more effective than standard care alone.
What can I expect during a treatment?
Before each treatment, you will change into a cotton uniform provided by the staff. For your convenience, lockers are furnished to store your clothing and other belongings during treatment. Your vital signs will be measured and you will be evaluated by our on-site physician. You will then enter the treatment room and sit down. A trained hyperbaric technician will assist you and will remain in the treatment room throughout the session.
As the treatment begins and the treatment room pressurizes, you may notice “popping” or fullness in your ears as your body adjusts to the changes. The treatment room will also feel a little warmer, but never to the point of being uncomfortable. When the treatment pressure is reached, the technician will assist you with putting on your head gear. You can then sit back and relax, read, nap or watch a movie on our widescreen TV.
At the end of the treatment, the pressure in the treatment room decreases and the air becomes cooler. When the session is concluded, you will be assisted out of the treatment room and you will change back into your regular clothes. Your uniform and head gear will be stored for your next treatment.
What is a typical treatment plan?
Hyperbaric treatments are two hours long, and are performed on a daily basis, for six days per week. The necessary number of treatments is decided on an individual basis, but typically six to eight weeks of treatments are required for the desired healing to occur.
Does insurance cover HBOT?
Yes. Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans cover treatment and reimbursement can be coincident with a same-day patient visit to your office. We will assist you in obtaining verification of coverage from your insurance company prior to starting treatments.
Are there any negative aspects to treatment?
Typically, no. Most patients feel invigorated and have increased energy after a treatment. They are free to go about their normal daily routine. If you would like to discuss the possibility of rare side effects, please call to discuss your concerns with the on-site physician.
Can extremely obese patients be treated with HBOT?
Yes. Patients weighing in excess of 500 pounds have been successfully treated.
What can I bring into the treatment room?
You may bring a bottle of water and certain reading materials such as a paperback book. Only 100 percent cotton clothing may be worn, including undergarments. Many items are not allowed, such as lighters, matches, cigarettes, nylons, wigs, ointments, hearing aids, electronic devices including cell phones, dentures, petroleum jelly, watches, jewelry or other metal objects, makeup, lipstick, hair spray, hair gel, synthetic or wool fabrics and hard contact lenses. As a general rule, you should not take anything into the treatment room unless you have been specifically told it is safe to do so.
Will I need to remove leg wraps or bandages during therapy?
No. Because HBOT heals you from the inside out, removing wraps or bandages is unnecessary. One exception would be any petroleum-based coverings.
Can I use the bathroom during a treatment session?
Patients are encouraged to use the bathroom prior to the session. Therapy typically lasts two hours (comparable to the length of a feature film). In an emergency, patients can be assisted out of the treatment room to use the rest room. If you have concerns regarding this issue, please feel free to talk to the on-site physician.
If I am receiving HBOT at Allegiance Hyperbaric Center, does that mean my doctor no longer manages my care?
No. Your physician will continue to manage and monitor your care, which may include other forms of standard treatments in addition to oxygen therapy.
Can I and/or a family member tour the treatment room in advance of starting treatment?
Yes. Contact the Hyperbaric Center directly at (517) 817-7683 to schedule a tour.
How do I get started?
Once we’ve received a referral from your physician, a Patient Care Coordinator will contact you to discuss your particular treatment plan. This person will be able to answer any questions you may have and get you set up to start treatment.
What do I need to do to get a physician referral?
The process is similar to being referred for physical rehabilitation. Once your doctor has identified the need for HBOT, he or she may contact us with your name and contact information. We would be happy to answer your doctor’s questions about your eligibility at that time. They may then fax, post or email our office a completed referral form.
Is there anything I can do to improve the quality of my treatment?
Yes. There are several things you can do to improve your success rate:
- Always keep appointments. Regular, consistent attendance will help you the most.
- If you smoke, consider stopping or at least cutting down. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to your healing tissues. All the benefits of HBOT will be increased if you quit.
- Try to get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet. These elements are key to the healing process.
What items are permitted in the chamber?
- 100% cotton clothing/undergarments/socks
- Paperback books
What items are prohibited?
- Shoes/stockings (cotton socks permitted)
- All flammable fabrics (wool, synthetics, bedding)
- Street clothing, including undergarments made of wool, nylon, silk or satin
- Any static-producing material (Velcro)
- Oils and grease (make-up, lipstick, hair preparations, sunscreen, skin lotion)
- Nail polish
- Jewelry (all must be removed or covered with white tape)
- Metallic objects (bobby pins, hair clips, car keys)
- Batteries/battery-powered equipment (headphones, watches, hearing aids)
- Electronics/MP3 players
- Petroleum-based dressing (Vaseline gauze)
- Alcohol-based applications
- Hand warmers/transdermal heat patches
- Unnecessary items