Hyperbaric wound care after surgery is an essential aspect of healing. Here are five benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
After you’ve had surgery, you need to focus on recovery. Surgery is generally a solution used to fix something, so you may not think of it as leaving wounds. But of course, any time that something cuts into your body, it creates a wound, whether it’s from surgery or from an injury. And that wound will need to heal.
A well-planned recovery helps ensure that the wound will heal properly and that you won’t have complications. And one tool that could be useful in your recovery is hyperbaric wound care. Take a look at what you need to know about HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) and what benefits it may have for your recovery.
What is Hyperbaric Wound Care?
Put simply, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be summarized as putting the patient into a large, pressurized chamber and delivering them pure, concentrated oxygen.
It’s easy to think of oxygen as simply something that you breathe, but oxygen impacts more than your lungs. All of the different parts of your body need oxygen. Your blood vessels actually carry it to each organ of your body.
It stands to reason that getting more oxygen to your body more quickly and efficiently can help in certain circumstances, and post-surgical wound care can be one of those circumstances. Take a look at the benefits that hyperbaric wound care can have after your surgery.
Benefit 1: Angiogenesis
Angiogenesis is the creation of new blood vessels. And after an injury – including a surgical wound – your tissues are going to need new blood vessels in order to survive and repair themselves.
Oxygen levels have a direct impact on angiogenesis. They can influence the rate at which new blood vessels are created and the quality of those vessels. So, increasing oxygen levels with HBOT can help to support the angiogenesis that you need in order to heal from surgery.
Benefit 2: Hyperoxygenation of the Tissues
Tissues that are exposed to hyperoxygenation – a higher concentration of oxygen – experience stimulation in healing. They acquire new epithelial cells, which are the cells that close wounds and create a barrier on the skin that prevents contamination and infections.
Unsurprisingly, new epithelial cells are important for wound recovery. The more easily you can close wounds and create new barrier skin, the fast that you’ll heal. This is especially important for patients that have additional difficulty with healing. Some diabetics, for example, experience slow wound healing. Hyperbaric wound care can be a big help for those patients.
Benefit 3: Collagen Synthesis
Oxygen is necessary to the process of collagen synthesis. Collagen is a major component of skin, and it also supports the development of new capillaries. Obviously, after a surgical wound, you’re going to need to develop new collagen, so hyperbaric wound care can help your body stimulate collagen synthesis and heal your wound more effectively.
Benefit 4: Get Rid of Edema
If you’ve never had surgery before, you might not be familiar with edema, but it’s a common side effect that occurs post-surgery. Edema is swelling in the tissues that occurs because of fluid build-up in the tissues. It can happen because the lymph system, which will usually remove the fluid, is not working correctly. In addition to the swelling, it’s characterized by a heavy, tight, tingling, burning, or aching feeling in the affected area, muscle tiredness, and clothes or jewelry that no longer fit well in the affected areas. Edema can also occur in the brain or the heart.
The reason that people who are experiencing edema or are prone to edema might want hyperbaric wound therapy is that HBOT stimulates circulation. That means that the fluids in the body are moved more efficiently and can be filtered and eliminated instead of building up in the body, and this will help to promote better healing post-surgery.
Benefit 5: Works With Antibiotics
Why would you need antibiotics? You’re not sick; you’ve had surgery. Well, depending on the surgical procedure and your medical situation, your doctor may prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to help stave off infection. And if they don’t, then you might be prescribed antibiotics later in the recovery period if you develop an infection. An infection from bacteria is always a risk when you have an open wound – including any post-surgical wound. Even if you’re generally a healthy person, you can always develop an infection post-surgery.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works with your antibiotics. The optimized oxygen levels in your body enhance leukocytes inside your body that kill bacteria, which is also what the antibiotics are trying to do. When you’re prescribed antibiotics and you’re having hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the two things combined can get rid of your infection faster, which can even shorten the course of your antibiotic regimen. This is a definite plus because antibiotics can have their own side effects. While they’re useful, limiting your antibiotic course or preventing a second course of antibiotics is only a good thing.
Hyperbaric treatment sounds strange at first, and you may have seen it depicted on TV or in movies as an unpleasant experience in an uncomfortably small space. However, treatment has come a long way over the years, and it’s no longer such a difficult experience. You’ll have space to relax and recline, and you’ll be able to see all of your surroundings and keep in touch with your medical team. The procedure is generally painless, though you may experience some pressure in your ears the same way that you might on an airplane.
Hyperbaric wound care is also a safe procedure. Depending on your medical situation, it might be used alone or to supplement another type of treatment or procedure. Oxygen is a natural treatment that won’t conflict with other treatments that you have going on. If you’re planning a surgical procedure, you should talk to your medical team about your recovery plan, including the possibility of hyperbaric oxygen treatment and how it can help you. Between your doctor and the professionals at Pearl Recovery Retreat, you can plan the recovery that works best for your medical situation.