Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
If you have diabetes and don’t experience wound healing after 30 days of traditional care—including lab tests, antibiotics and revascularization—you may qualify for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. During this simple treatment at Cone Health, you breathe 100 percent oxygen that helps your body heal wounds, fight infections and improve circulation.
What to Expect During Treatment
Before a session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you’ll change into a comfortable garment provided by Cone Health. You’ll then recline on a soft surface inside a clear chamber, and the air pressure will begin to rise. You might feel fullness in your ears as you would on an airplane; ask your technician for help relieving any discomfort.
Most treatment sessions last two hours. During therapy, you may watch TV, listen to music, relax or take a nap. You might need anywhere from 20 to 40 sessions of treatment.
You may drive yourself to therapy and should allow up to two-and-a-half hours for each visit.
Preparing for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
For your safety, don’t wear any of the following during hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
- Hairspray or other hair products
- Nail polish
- Alcohol-based or petroleum-based skin products (ask hyperbaric staff for help identifying them)
- Hearing aids
- Wigs or hairpieces
Don’t bring any of these items into the hyperbaric chamber:
- Cell phones or pagers
- Flammable materials or heat-producing items, such as heating pads, lighters or cigarettes
- Food, gum or candy
- Metallic items, such as jewelry, titanium-frame eyeglasses, keys, watches and coins
How to Get the Most Out of Therapy
To help your body get the most benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco over your entire course of treatment. Tobacco use slows or prevents wound healing.
- Tell hyperbaric staff if you have cold or flu symptoms. You may need to postpone treatment until your symptoms subside.
- Let hyperbaric staff know if your medications change. Some medications aren’t compatible with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
- Eat healthfully. If you have diabetes, continue to take any medication you’ve been prescribed to control your blood sugar. Hyperbaric staff will check your blood-sugar level before, during and after each treatment.
Possible Side Effects
You may experience temporary, minor vision changes that should subside within a few weeks after you complete hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Continue to rely on your usual eyewear prescription during the course of treatment.
Therapy also may make you feel tired, which is normal.
Medicare and most private insurance plans cover hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Ask Cone Health staff for help understanding your coverage and communicating with your insurance provider.