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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – Does It Help With Would Healing?

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    ”Today I wanted to answer couple of post-operative questions that people have asked me very recently. One of them was on a very specialized area of post-operative care that involves improving wound healing or blood circulation or the efficiency of blood circulation when people are healing, and there's a special process called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBO that many people have used over a number of years and they're in many studies on wound healing.

    HBO requires that a patient go to a facility that has, what's called the chamber, and a chamber is now a sort of glass enclosed box if you will, or tube that sits in usually plexiglass, so you can see out and get lots of air flowing. Some even have little televisions on them and that chamber is enclosed and sealed so that higher atmosphere pressure can be generated, thus increasing the concentration of Oxygen molecules within the chamber, that when you're breathing them.

    Further the chamber can be supplied by oxygen so the normal ambient oxygen concentration, which in our environment is about 21% can be increased dramatically by pumping oxygen into the chamber and then increasing the pressure. What this does for people is it allows greater amounts of oxygen to be circulating in the blood stream which are critical to wound healing, and that's really where you see people slower wound healing commonly seen diabetics or people who are smokers, people that have poor vessels or heart disease are all people who are likely to have, or at higher risk to have, some slower circulation or wound healing problems. In those patients, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBO might be a reasonable alternative or opportunity if you will for post-operative care to improve the circulation and thus wound healing, and we recommend this in small percentage of patients.

    Now the Hyperbaric chambers that I worked with, there's one here in San Francisco and one in Marin County and one in the South Bay, all of which have the same type of facility, a very nice facility where you check in, I’ll pre-arranged that with the technicians there and in the handful of patients that we see that have slower circulation, I’m very happy and encourage them to get involved in Hyperbaric Oxygen to get the best possible result.

    The treatment itself is very comfortable, you sit in the chamber, its a lot like descending on an airplane, you feel a little bit of increased pressure on your ears and you'll sit in there with the ventilation for usually an hour or two, an hour and a half, some people sleep during the treatment I think people can read or like I said watch television, listen to music whatever you like to do. It’s totally painless in terms of the comfort level, it's fine, and once you get out of there people feel refreshed.

    Now some people are using HBO as a routine part of an anti-aging program. There have been studies showing increased mentation and brain wave changes and other sorts of things. Michael Jackson in fact whether this is good or bad had an HBO chamber in his house that he treated himself daily with. So although I’m recommending that for routine use, there are a lot of interesting applications to HBO beyond wound healing, which we recommend.

    So in summary I just wanted to say that I think HBO or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an adjunctive procedure or intervention that we can do after surgery if people seem to have slower wound healing or slower circulation, dusky skin, things that we don’t like to see in the recovery period, and we encourage people to seek HBO along with a couple of referral sources that we have.

    I would encourage you to visit our website at or again you can see our Facebook page at There are links to the HBO centers we use there as well as some information on how HBO works and whether it’s right for you and your post-operative care. Thank you again for you attention this is Dr. Maas on Looking your Best.”