Other Uses for HBOT
Please note: the information in this section is provided for those with interest in finding out whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help to heal their conditions. We will gladly provide additional references to physicians and others who request it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many other medical conditions that HBOT improves, frequently alongside treatments by other medical specialists. Here are just some:
Broken or Fractured Bones
Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are two types of cells that work together to repair broken bones. Osteoclasts break down old bone tissues and enable osteoblasts to replace them with new bone substance. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy stimulates these amazing cells. HBOT helps new blood vessels form, so that oxygen can flow to the healing bone and deliver a steady supply of vital nutrients. These new blood vessels will also carry infection-fighting white blood cells to the bone area.
This painful bacterial infection usually impacts both the bone’s outer layer and its inner bone marrow. It can come on suddenly or develop slowly over time, often continuing for years and resisting antibiotic treatments. Frequently, osteomyelitis is caused by staphylococci bacteria (a staph infection). Because staph flourishes in the absence of oxygen, HBOT is an ideal therapy to halt its spread.
If not successfully treated with antibiotics, osteomyelitis infection and inflammation block blood vessels. When these vessels can no longer carry oxygen to the bone, tissues begin to die – leading to chronic osteomyelitis.
Some osteomyelitis sufferers will need to have surgery, in addition to aggressive antibiotic treatment. In these cases, hyperbaric oxygen treatments can help surgeons to accurately determine the areas of infection. In fact, some surgeons order HBOT for patients both before and after surgery.
Thermal burns result from coming in contact with hot objects, such as fire, boiling water, steam, stove burners, hot cooking grease or even the sun. Each year in the US, more than two million burn injuries will require medical attention. Around 75,000 burn victims will be hospitalized, and a third of these will require stays of two months or more. Fourteen thousand hospitalized burn victims will die, most frequently from infections. But even when burns are not fatal, survivors can suffer long-term emotional and physical damage.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy aids in the healing process, as part of an overall program of thermal burns care. HBOT can greatly reduce a burn victim’s chances of illness or dying, shorten hospital stays, and lessen the need for surgery. Such factors also greatly cut down medical expenses for those who suffer severe burns. In some burn cases, Medicare and other insurances will cover the treatment entirely.
Thermal burns can also result from chemicals or CO2 laser procedures. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, together with other treatments can help to heal the trauma and restore new skin. But before we go into how hyperbaric oxygen therapy works on burns so successfully, here is a little explanation of what happens during burns:
The skin is made up of three layers: the outer layer or epidermis, the dermis, and inner (subcutaneous) tissue. The type of burn and its severity depends on how many of these layers are affected. Whereas superficial burns can simply leave a small skin blister, serious burns wound both the skin and its inner tissues, leading to swelling, scarring and infection.
These burn injuries typically progress to become deeper and more widespread with time. Peak damage occurs within three to four days after the initial burn. In that time, the damage can become up to 10 times worse. Deep second, third and fourth degree burns require multiple aggressive surgeries to cut out the burned tissue and, later, to perform skin grafts to cover the treated areas. It goes without saying that these patients also suffer profound emotional scars and cannot make a living while they heal.
Burns from Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing, also known as laser peel, is a cosmetic procedure that helps to revitalize the skin and reduce sun-induced effects, wrinkles and certain facial skin disorders. During treatment, a dermatologist or technician uses the powerful light from a laser to dissolve the damaged skin’s molecular bonds, layer by layer. Removing these outer layers stimulates collagen production and new skin cells beneath the surface begin forming, leaving the skin look more uniform and smooth. The lasers work by running carbon-dioxide and other gasses through a tube to produce an invisible infrared light. A CO2 laser superheats water molecules within the skin cells, causing these cells to vaporize. Unfortunately, some people that undergo laser peels can get complications from the procedure, including thermal burns, skin pigmentation changes, blistering or crusting, milia (tiny skin pimples), and even scarring.
How HBOT works to treat thermal burns
As part of an overall burn treatment program, hyperbaric oxygen therapy minimizes swelling, preserves tissues at risk for dying, helps white blood cells fight infection, and promotes wound closure. HBOT helps to improve blood flow to constricted blood vessels and to maintain the structural integrity of the skin’s connective tissues. In one trial comparing burn treatment with and without hyperbaric oxygen in 16 patients, the healing time was significantly shorter in the group receiving hyperbaric oxygen. In thermal burns caused by CO2 laser treatment, patients who had five to ten 90-minute HBOT treatments at 2 ATA (equivalent to 33 feet below sea level) healed 30 to 40 percent faster than those who had no HBOT therapy. In addition, their chances of scarring and other complications is reduced by as much as 80 percent.
Remember, hyperbaric oxygen therapy isn’t intended to replace other burn treatment treatments, but to complement them so that the patient can get the best possible outcome. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy not only limits a surgeon’s liability, but it also shortens the patients’ healing process – which means fewer post-operative office visits.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments can reduce recovery time of soft-tissue injuries and bone fractures. At least 12 professional U.S. sports teams from the NBA, NHL and NFL (including the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants) lease or own HBOT chambers to help heal injured players.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps with one major aspect of cancer that makes it dangerous and liable to spread. Cancer flourishes in oxygen-starved environments, and loathes higher oxygen levels. Doctors and researchers have long documented that chemotherapy is more effective when tumors are infused with oxygen. One of the major benefits of HBOT is to reverse hypoxemia, (inadequate blood oxygenation), that so many cancer patients experience.
Doctors used to mistakenly believe that increasing oxygen to tumors would make cancer spread. That has now been widely disputed. In 2009, scientists at Oxford University determined that injecting oxygen into cancer tumors significantly boosted the chances of patient recovery. Even slightly raising O2 supply strengthened blood vessels in cancer cells, helping to increase chemotherapy’s effectiveness.
Here’s how hyperbaric oxygen therapy performed in some other recent studies:
One 2010 landmark study at Ohio State University published in the Journal of Cancer Biology & Therapy showed that hyperbaric oxygen successfully shrank ovarian tumors. In 21 days with 90-minute sessions, HBOT caused significant tumor reduction and appeared to increase chemo’s effectiveness.
One study published in the Feb 2011 Journal of Cancer showed that brain tumor patients who had either surgery or radiation treatments significantly improved their cognitive functioning after receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In pre-clinical studies and in two recent Japanese clinical trials, HBOT also has been shown to improve aggressive brain cancers. In a 1999 article, Drs. Kohshi, Kanugita, Kinoshita and Abe reported that giving brain tumor patients HBOT prior to administering radiation therapy led to a 50% increase in survival rates.
One 2007 animal study showed that hyperbaric oxygen helped or prevented breast cancer from metastasizing (spreading) to the lung.
Other Cancer and Treatment Related Complaints
Cancer patients frequently experience fatigue, either due to the cancer itself or from cancer treatment. Patients with both migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome can respond favorably to HBOT treatments. It seems likely, therefore, that cancer patients will also find relief from tiredness.
Anemia often results from cancer and cancer treatments. Because HBOT stimulates bone marrow, it should also work well to treat both acute blood loss and chronic anemias. Adding HBOT to erythropoietin treatments helps to increase and speed healing response. One 34-year-old woman with Lupus developed osteomyelitis in her distal 5th finger. Surgeons recommended amputation. Sixty days of HBOT at 2 ATA for 2 hours each day, together with antibiotic treatment, cured the osteomyelitis, and the woman had her first period in five years.
Mucositis and Esophagitis
These debilitating complications of both chemotherapy and radiation occur most frequently when the two treatments are performed at the same time or when one treatment follows the other. Frequently complicating these treatments is infection by pseudomonas bacteria. HBOT brings down swelling, speeds healing and fights off pseudomonas and other bacterial infections. Adding HBOT to Amifostine (Ethyol) and recombinant human kevatinocyte growth factor (rhukgforkgf) treatments will significantly improve patient response.
One 54-year-old diabetic patient who ruptured his Achilles tendon and developed an antibiotic-resistant pseudomonas infection required a skin graft. During initial HBOT treatments, granulation tissue began to develop. After 20 HBOT treatments at 2ATA for 2 hours daily, the skin graft continued to do well. In total, the patient had 120 HBOT treatments. At his one-year follow-up, the graft had taken 100%. In addition, prior to HBOT treatments, the patient experienced one or two TIA’s monthly. He had no TIAs for one year following the HBOT treatment.
In another instance, HBOT supplemented radiation treatment for a 34-year-old woman with synovial cell carcinoma in her chest wall. The woman had 2 hour HBOT treatments at 2 ATA, just before each radiation treatment of 4,000 rads. One month after completing radiation treatments, the patient had extensive surgery and a skin graft. She followed this with another 20 days of HBOT. Again, the graft took 100% and the patient had no cancer recurrence 18 years post treatment.
Many cancer treatments, including chemo and radiation, can cause short-term, long-term, and delayed problems with memory and the ability to think.
One 56-year old woman who had a lumpectomy for breast cancer in 1993 received both radiation and six months of chemotherapy with Cytoxan, methotrexate, and fluorocuracil. She also had Tamoxifen therapy for five years following. Shortly after she began chemo, she noted that her memory was declining. She had trouble recalling recent events and understanding basic instructions. She began misplacing items and lost interest in many activities she formerly enjoyed, including playing bridge.
She had trouble reading recipes and other materials, which meant she could no longer cook dishes that she used to prepare easily. In 1996, the woman couldn’t think clearly enough to continue at her job. In April of 2002, she began having 20 one-hour hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions at 1.5 ATA. By the beginning of July, she reported that her memory had improved significantly and she no longer experienced brain fog. She was able to perform complex tasks that she couldn’t do prior to HBOT treatments. Her memory improved so well that she was able to return to work for the first time in six years!
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