Surgical Healing With HBOT

An article by Expand Health, situated downstairs from the IHA Clinic.

Have you recently undergone surgery or do you have a wound and find that your body is taking its time to heal? At Expand Health, we understand that the body’s natural healing processes can sometimes use a boost. That’s where Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) comes into play. This innovative treatment harnesses the power of pure oxygen to expedite your healing journey, right down to the cellular level.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is gaining recognition as a valuable adjunct treatment option for accelerating wound healing and aiding in post-surgical recovery. One of the primary benefits of HBOT is its ability to significantly increase cellular oxygen supply – stimulating cellular repair, reducing inflammation and swelling, promoting the formation of new blood vessels and enhancing tissue regeneration—key factors in wound healing. Additionally, HBOT lessens the damage that can occur when blood flow returns to tissues after surgery, a common concern in surgical recovery. 

What is HBOT? HBOT is administered inside chambers where the patient breathes nearly 100% oxygen intermittently while the pressure of the treatment chamber is increased to greater than 1 atmosphere absolute (ATA). Most therapy is given at 2 or 3 ATA and the average duration of therapy can vary between 45–90 min. Number of therapies may vary from 3 to 5 for acute conditions to 50–60 for radiation illnesses.


Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn wound that refuses to heal or you’re in the post-surgical phase looking to accelerate your recovery, HBOT offers targeted solutions for a variety of conditions.

In the following section, we’ll delve into the specific applications of HBOT, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of how this innovative therapy can be tailored to meet individual healing needs.

Applications of HBOT in Wound Healing and Post-Surgical Recovery

Non-Healing Wounds

Non-healing wounds, which include diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers and arterial insufficiency ulcers are a significant healthcare challenge. These wounds are often hypoxic, meaning they lack sufficient oxygen. HBOT addresses this issue head-on with a range of benefits:

  • Boosts Collagen and Blood Vessel Formation: HBOT helps increase the production of collagen, a key building block for new blood vessels, by providing more oxygen to the wound area.
  • Stimulates Release of Growth Factors: Plays a key role in wound healing.
  • Reduces Swelling: Allows better flow of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. 

Infected Wounds

Infections like Clostridial myonecrosis and Fournier’s gangrene can quickly become life-threatening, requiring immediate intervention. HBOT offers a targeted approach with the following benefits:

  • Inhibits Toxin Production: Crucial for managing life-threatening infections.
  • Enhances Microbicidal Activity: Increases the effectiveness of white blood cells.
  • Complements Traditional Treatments: Works alongside surgery and antibiotics to reduce mortality rates.

Traumatic Wounds

Traumatic wounds often result from severe accidents or injuries such as crush injuries or compartment syndrome, causing significant damage to tissues. HBOT provides specialized care through:

  • Adequate Oxygen Supply: Injured tissues receive the oxygen they need for healing.
  • Reduced Blood Flow: Alleviates pressure and potential damage to the affected area.
  • Minimized Reperfusion Injury: Gradually reintroduces oxygen to tissues in a controlled manner.

Compromised Skin Grafts and Flaps

Skin grafts and flaps are often used in surgical procedures to repair damaged or missing skin. However, compromised circulation can jeopardize their success. HBOT provides specialized care through:

  • Enhanced Graft and Flap Survival: Promotes angiogenesis and a richer network of blood vessels.
  • Improved Nutrient Supply: Ensures a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to the graft or flap.
  • Reduced Risk of Infection: The oxygen-rich environment can inhibit bacterial growth, reducing the risk of post-surgical infection.

Radiation-Induced Wounds

Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat cancer but can also damage surrounding healthy tissues, leading to complications. HBOT mitigates these issues through:

  • Improved Blood Vessel Networks: Ensures better circulation and delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
  • Reduced Fibrous Tissue Formation: Makes the wound more amenable to treatment and closure.
  • Enhanced Tissue Survival: Floods the irradiated tissues with high concentrations of oxygen.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns occur from exposure to extreme heat sources like flames, hot liquids, or heated objects and can lead to complex healing challenges. HBOT offers a multi-faceted approach to care:

  • Modulates Inflammatory Response: Leads to less swelling and potentially less pain.
  • Antimicrobial Effects: Helps kill bacteria directly and enhances the ability of white blood cells to fight infection.
  • Treats Smoke Inhalation: HBOT is a recognized treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning, often a concern for burn victims.

If you’re facing challenges with wounds that are slow to heal or dealing with post-surgical complications, HBOT might be the answer you’ve been seeking.

Scientific Literature

  1. Sahni T, Hukku S, Jain M, Prasad A, Prasad R, Singh K. Recent advances in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Medicine update. Assoc Physicians India. 2004;14:632–9. [Google Scholar]
  2. Sharkey S. Current indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapyJournal of the Australian Defence Health Service (ADF Health) 2000;1:64–72. [Google Scholar]
  3. Vishwanath G. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in free flap surgery: Is it meaningful? Medical journal armed forces India (MJAFI) 2011;67:253–6. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. Bhutani S, Verma R. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in non-healing wounds. Jour Marine Medical Society. 2010;12:89–92. [Google Scholar]
  5. Doctor N, Pandya S, Supe A. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in diabetic foot. J Postgrad Med. 1992;38:112–4. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
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  7. Kemmer A. Crush injury and other traumatic ischemia. In: Mathieu D, editor. Handbook on hyperbaric medicine. Netherlands: Springer; 2006. pp. 311–2. [Google Scholar]
  8. Mesimeris TA. Compromised skin graft and flap. In: Mathieu D, editor. Handbook on hyperbaric medicine. Netherlands: Springer; 2006. pp. 329–61. [Google Scholar]
  9. Hart GB, O’Reilly RR, Broussard ND. Treatment of burns with hyperbaric oxygen. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1974;139:693–6. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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