Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen (O2) in a pressurized chamber. It has shown remarkable results in a wide range of conditions, from decompression sickness to carbon monoxide poisoning to diabetic ulcer treatment. It is also an incredibly beneficial treatment for post-surgery healing. Dr. Steven R. Cohen, a renowned plastic surgeon at FACES+, brings this advanced therapy to patients in San Diego, California.
The primary purpose of HBOT is to increase the amount of oxygen dissolved in your blood and tissues, which can have profound effects on your overall health and well-being. By delivering oxygen to areas of the body that are not adequately supplied, HBOT stimulates the body’s natural healing processes and promotes tissue repair.
If you are seeking a comprehensive and innovative solution for your condition, contact our office today at (858) 453-7224 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cohen and find out what HBOT can do for you.
Discover more about plastic surgery in San Diego by reading Dr. Cohen’s blog.
- 1 Oxygen as a Nutrient
- 2 How Doctors Use HBOT
- 3 HBOT After Surgery
- 4 3 Real-Life Examples
- 5 Benefits
- 6 Personal Consultation
- 7 How Much Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Cost in San Diego?
- 8 FAQ
- 9 References
Oxygen as a Nutrient
Oxygen, often overlooked as a nutrient, plays a vital role in our overall health and well-being. It is essential for the proper functioning of our respiratory system, blood circulation, and cellular respiration. Oxygen acts as a fuel for our cells, enabling them to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of our bodies. (1)
This process, known as aerobic metabolism, fuels every single function within our bodies, from basic cellular processes to complex physiological activities. Without sufficient oxygen, our cells would not be able to generate the energy needed for optimal functioning.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
The process of HBOT involves entering a specially designed oxygen chamber where the atmospheric pressure increases to higher levels than normal. This increase in pressure allows your lungs to take in a significantly higher concentration of oxygen, which then dissolves into your blood plasma and reaches areas of your body with compromised circulation or inadequate oxygen supply.
How Doctors Use HBOT
HBOT uses oxygen under augmented pressure, usually between 2-3 atmospheres. (2) This means the body is placed under 2-3 times normal atmospheric pressure, which is controlled manually. Doctors use it in a variety of settings, including the following.
One of the primary applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is in the treatment of wounds that are slow to heal. Whether it be chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers or surgical wounds that have become infected, HBOT promotes faster healing by delivering oxygen directly to the affected tissues.
By increasing oxygen levels, HBOT stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, enhances white blood cell function, and accelerates collagen production, all crucial components of the healing process.
Another condition that can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy is decompression sickness, which commonly affects deep-sea divers. When divers ascend too quickly, nitrogen bubbles can form within their bloodstream, leading to severe symptoms such as joint pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. HBOT helps to dissolve these bubbles and eliminates the symptoms associated with decompression sickness.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning, often caused by inhaling smoke during a fire or through faulty heating systems, can have life-threatening consequences. HBOT effectively removes carbon monoxide from the body, preventing further damage and promoting a speedy recovery.
Radiation injury is another area where hyperbaric oxygen therapy has demonstrated its effectiveness. Patients who have undergone radiation therapy for cancer treatment may develop radiation-induced tissue damage, leading to chronic wounds or non-healing ulcers. HBOT can aid in the healing process by increasing the oxygen supply to these damaged tissues and promoting tissue regeneration.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been beneficial in treating bone infections, as it helps deliver antibiotics directly to the infected area. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in improving the success rate of skin grafts by enhancing blood flow and oxygenation to the grafted tissues.
HBOT has shown promising results in chronic pain management. Unlike surgical interventions or pharmaceutical approaches, HBOT harnesses the power of oxygen to address pain at its core without the need for invasive procedures or medication. This makes it an appealing option for individuals seeking a more natural remedy for their chronic pain.
HBOT After Surgery
Plastic surgery is a transformative journey, and the healing process plays a crucial role in achieving optimal results, whether you’re recovering from a facelift, nasal surgery, or more extensive body contouring procedures. These procedures involve incisions and manipulation of tissues, which can lead to swelling and inflammation.
One of the key advantages of HBOT is its ability to enhance tissue repair. The high levels of oxygen delivered during the therapy promote angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels. This facilitates the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the surgical site. The increased oxygen supply stimulates cellular activity, leading to faster healing and improved tissue regeneration. (3)
3 Real-Life Examples
- Nasal Tip Skin Necrosis – After complications from injectables performed by an untrained provider, a portion of the patient’s skin in the treatment area necrotized (died) and darkened. Following HBOT, her condition improved in only 3 weeks, with significant wound improvement and only minor pigmentation issues. (3)
- Diabetic Ulcers – One study indicated that HBOT was effective as an adjunctive treatment for long-standing diabetic foot ulcers. Testing data indicated that HBOT doubled the number of healed ulcers compared to placebo. (4)
- Major Burns – Researchers found that HBOT was helpful in reducing healing time for patients with 2nd-degree burns. (5)
- Enhanced Wound Healing: HBOT promotes the growth of new blood vessels and stimulates collagen production, resulting in faster and more efficient wound healing.
- Faster Rehabilitation After Surgery: By speeding up the healing process, reducing inflammation, swelling, and promoting tissue regeneration, HBOT aids in post-surgical recovery, allowing patients to resume their normal activities sooner.
- Improved Oxygenation of Tissues: By exposing the body to pure oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure, HBOT saturates the tissues with oxygen, facilitating cellular regeneration and improving overall tissue health.
- Accelerated Recovery from Sports Injuries: Athletes can benefit greatly from HBOT as it not only speeds up the healing process but also helps repair damaged tissues and reduces the risk of further injury, allowing athletes to return to their activities sooner.
- Alleviation of Chronic Pain: HBOT has been proven effective in reducing certain types of chronic pain including headaches, complex regional pain syndrome, and trigeminal neuralgia. (6)
It is important to note that HBOT should be administered under the supervision of a trained medical professional. Dr. Steven R. Cohen, a board-certified plastic surgeon at FACES+, can assess your individual needs and determine if hyperbaric oxygen therapy is suitable for you.
During your personal consultation with Dr. Cohen, he will carefully assess your medical history and discuss your specific concerns and goals. This allows him to create a tailored treatment plan that aligns with your unique needs. Dr. Cohen will explain the benefits of HBOT and how it can potentially improve your condition or enhance your overall well-being.
How Much Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Cost in San Diego?
The cost of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at FACES+ will depend on several factors specific to each patient’s treatment plan. Our experienced team, led by Dr. Steven R. Cohen, understands that every individual requires personalized care.
To receive a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the expenses associated with HBOT, we recommend scheduling a personal consultation with Dr. Cohen.
What happens during hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
During HBOT, the patient enters a hyperbaric chamber where they breathe in pure oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. This increase in pressure allows the lungs to take in more oxygen, which then dissolves into the bloodstream and is delivered to all tissues in the body. The increased oxygen supply stimulates the body’s natural healing processes and promotes tissue repair.
Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy painful?
No, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally painless. Patients may experience a sensation of fullness in their ears similar to when ascending or descending in an airplane. To alleviate this discomfort, patients can equalize the pressure in their ears by swallowing or yawning. Our experienced staff will guide you through the process to ensure your comfort during the treatment.
Are there any side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
While hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally safe, there can be some potential side effects. These include temporary changes in vision, fatigue, lightheadedness, and sinus discomfort. However, these side effects are rare and usually resolve quickly after the treatment session is completed.
- Rhodes CE, Varacallo M. Physiology, Oxygen Transport. PubMed. Published 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538336/
- Ortega MA, Fraile-Martinez O, García-Montero C, et al. A General Overview on the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Applications, Mechanisms and Translational Opportunities. Medicina. 2021;57(9):864. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57090864
- Simman R, Bach K. Role of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Ischemic Soft Tissue Wounds: A Case Series. Eplasty. 2022;22:e61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9748824/
- Londahl M, Katzman P, Nilsson A, Hammarlund C. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Facilitates Healing of Chronic Foot Ulcers in Patients With Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(5):998-1003. doi:https://doi.org/10.2337/dc09-1754
- Shah J. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The Journal of the American College of Certified Wound Specialists. 2010;2(1):9-13. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcws.2010.04.001
- Pejic W, Frey N. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness. Nih.gov. Published September 17, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537956/