One of the more traditional uses for hyperbaric oxygen therapy is for slow-healing wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers. However, any wound can benefit from hyperbarics. When tissue is cut, whether by a surgical knife, or by a traumatic injury, blood flow is limited. Since oxygen is normally carried on red blood cells, limited blood flow can mean limited oxygen. And, of course, we need oxygen for the cells to heal properly. This makes for a slow-healing wound if the wound is deep or incorporates extensive tissue.
We recently had a new patient whose breast wasn’t healing properly after an implant surgery. She asked her surgeon if he thought hyperbarics would help. He told her no, that it was only for diabetic ulcers! Not only is this incorrect, but it also is somewhat dangerous to a patient’s health. A wound is a wound, regardless of where it is on the body or what created it. If this patient had received hyperbaric oxygen right after the initial surgery, she would have healed properly and wouldn’t have needed a second surgery to remove the dead tissue.
We highly recommend having hyperbaric oxygen therapy as soon after your surgery as possible. It cuts healing time and reduces the chance of infection and other complications. And remember, any wound can benefit, including sports injury, car accident injury, falling off a bike, etc. Oxygen makes everything better.