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What is Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy?

HBO is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, allowing oxygen to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them. HBO chambers surround patients with 100% oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure.

Who requires extra oxygen?

Usually, there is no benefit to increasing the level of oxygen in the body for healthy individuals.  People with certain medical conditions do, however, benefit from increased levels of oxygen.

Can someone stay with me during therapy?

To protect the privacy of our patients, family members may not remain with you during your treatment. A waiting room is provided for their comfort.  A trained technician is always in the room during treatment and can communicate with you at any time.

What should I wear?

Since safety is our priority, we will provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:

  • Contact lenses
  • Makeup
  • Wigs or hair pieces
  • Nail polish
  • Skin lotions
  • Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
  • Jewelry, including watches and earrings
  • Hair spray or oils

What should I bring with me?

If you have a movie you would like to watch, please bring it with you as there will be a monitor available to view during the therapy. Otherwise, you don’t need to bring anything.  If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the technician know so we can make you more comfortable.

What makes me eligible for HBO therapy?

Some potential candidates are people with: diabetes who have wounds that are slow to heal; certain bone and skin infections; radiation injuries; and people with compromised or failing skin grafts or flaps.

Do I have to go somewhere else for these treatments?

No, you’ll come here to the Sparrow Wound and Hyperbaric Clinic for treatment. Your therapy will be supervised by a specially-trained physician and monitored by a technician each day.

How long do HBO treatments last and how many times will I be treated?

On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment depth. For most chronic wounds, HBO therapy once every weekday is sufficient.

How many HBO treatments will I need?

The number of HBO treatments is not pre-set because each person responds differently to the therapy.  The average number of treatments required to heal a patient with a problem wound is 20 to 40.

Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?

Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of chronic, non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare’s guidelines, as well. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you know what your costs will be.

Is HBO therapy painful?

No, the only sensation you will experience is during the pressurization phase of the treatment. The slowly increasing pressure will push on your eardrums slightly. This is exactly the same feeling you would experience when landing in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you about different methods of relieving this ear pressure.

Is HBO therapy dangerous?

No, the treatment is very safe. Sparrow Wound and Hyperbaric Clinic has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Before your first treatment, you will be given a thorough orientation.