Does The Timing Of HBOT Matter? Oxygen Therapy For Treating Burns

  • Dermatology
  • HBOT - Wound Care
  • February 3, 2023

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been making waves as an effective form of treatment for injuries like severe burns.

Can Oxygen Help With Burn Injuries?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment for various medical conditions and is often used to treat burns. Over 33,000 adults suffer burn injuries of different degrees every day, and many require hospitalization and emergency surgery. Even then, the procedures sometimes aren’t enough to help the patient recover fully. Doctors have realized that HBOT can improve the body’s ability to heal from burns and other wounds by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels and tissue.

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How does HBOT work?

Under normal conditions, people breathe about 21% pure oxygen. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients breathe 100% oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. Because the pressure is higher inside, the chamber pushes more oxygen into the lungs and blood. This step allows more oxygen to reach the body’s tissues. Increased oxygen levels are needed to help the body recover from severe burns. HBOT helps accelerate healing by boosting the body’s natural immune system and improving the blood flow to affected areas. This treatment can help relieve pain and help heal patients with all types of burns.

HBOT candidates

Oxygen therapy is often recommended for people with severe burns who require immediate care. Second and third-degree burns to the skin or underlying muscles are some examples. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also help reduce swelling and promote faster recovery for patients with surgical procedures involving burns to the chest area. When administered in a wound care center setting, HBOT is often used with a dressing to promote healing and prevent complications such as infections and poor healing.

Timing oxygen exposure

Starting HBOT immediately after the burn injury is beneficial and recommended. Early treatment can reduce the extent of tissue damage and help minimize scarring. However, the medical team may delay treatment if the patient develops an infection or has other injuries or illnesses. HBOT is generally performed at a hospital, pain management clinic, burn unit, or clinic specializing in oxygen therapy. There are also home chambers available that must be used under the supervision of a nurse or physician. In most cases, sessions last about 30-45 minutes, depending on the severity of the burn injury. Treatment usually takes several sessions, lasting many weeks.

Beat the burn

Moderate to severe burns are difficult to treat. The body often struggles to heal the burn and provide new tissue growth. Increasing the body’s oxygen levels improves the chance of healing with fewer scars. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy will continue to grow in popularity and accessibility as a natural way to tackle burns. The faster the patient accesses the treatment, the better.

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