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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Using a Hyperbaric Chamber for Wound Care

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a simple but effective treatment for chronic wounds in which you breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. The hyperbaric chamber wound care treatment quickly delivers high concentrations of oxygen to your bloodstream which helps increase your body’s own natural wound-healing abilities.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also helps fight certain types of infections, improves circulation and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Hyperbaric chamber wound care treatments are administered daily, and the number of therapies you receive depends on your diagnosis and individual treatment plan.

The chamber has clear sides through which you can see your surroundings, and is in a comfortable treatment room equipped with TVs and videos. Inside the chamber, the pressure is gradually increased and then the temperature will temporarily rise.

With hyperbaric oxygen therapy the pressure may cause fullness in your ears, but a highly trained technician will tell you how to clear this and relieve any discomfort. He or she will also be able to answer any questions you have. Hyperbaric chamber wound care treatment sessions may last up to two hours; many patients relax or even sleep while receiving this beneficial therapy.

What can I expect during hyperbaric chamber wound care therapy?

You will receive complete instructions for your hyperbaric chamber wound care therapy when you arrive. A comfortable cotton garment approved for use in the chamber will be provided by our staff, which you must wear while inside the chamber. For your safety, the following are not allowed inside the chamber during treatment:

  • Makeup, nail polish, perfume or aftershave
  • Hairspray or hair oils
  • Wigs or hairpieces
  • Alcohol- or petroleum-based products
  • Cell phones or pagers
  • Jewelry, titanium frame eyeglasses, keys or other metals
  • Flammable materials or heat-producing items
  • Hearing aids
  • Food, gum or drinks

Over the course of your hyperbaric oxygen therapy you should not use any tobacco products. These will restrict blood vessels and prolong or even prevent the healing of your wound.

Some patients experience fatigue during hyperbaric chamber wound care treatments, but this is completely normal. Your vision may temporarily change but should return to normal a few weeks after your therapy is completed. Because this change is temporary, we recommend that you not change your eyewear prescription during the course of your therapy. If you wear contact lenses, ask your hyperbaric oxygen wound care physician for advice on wearing them during treatment.

Hyperbaric chamber wound care therapy is delivered on an outpatient basis. If you drive, you may drive yourself to the center for treatment and should allow up to two and a half hours for each visit.

What if you are sick or on medication?

You should inform our staff at the Comprehensive Wound Care Center if you have a cold or cough, the flu, sore throat, chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Alert the staff to any medications you are taking or changes in medication during the course of your treatment.

If you are diabetic, please eat properly and continue to take your prescribed medication to control your blood sugar level. Your blood sugar level will also be checked before, during and after each visit to the center.

How do I know if hyperbaric oxygen therapy is right for me?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven effective in helping to heal many types of chronic wounds, but only a wound care specialist can decide if it is right for you. Most healthcare plans reimburse for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for currently approved indications. For more information on hyperbaric chamber wound care treatment, call the Emory Decatur Hospital Comprehensive Wound Care Center at 404.501.7455.

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