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Healing Chronic Wounds For Healthy Skin
Virginia Integrative Health & Hyperbaric

Healing Chronic Wounds For Healthy Skin

When we think of beauty, non-healing wounds probably aren’t something that comes to mind. Yet chronic wounds on the skin (the bodies largest organ), especially in a visible or noticeable area of the body, can have an impact on one’s appearance. While they can often present in cancer and diabetic patients, non-healing wounds can also happen post-surgically in elective cosmetic procedures. Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an FDA approved insurance covered indication for these chronic wounds.

What are non-healing wounds?

Chronic wounds, defined as lasting longer than 30 days, can be from numerous causes and the associated symptoms can be challenging. These often include pain/discomfort, redness/warmth, discharge, foul odor, and tissue breakdown at the site.  Non-healing wounds often require consistent involved care, and for a wound to heal normally it needs to go through a sequence of steps, including controlling the infection and inflammation to allow regeneration of the connective tissue.

At the center of any wound there is some form of hypoxia (low oxygen), which is where HBOT comes in to supply the wound starving for oxygen. It can even be helpful in accelerating the healing process earlier than 30 days, and some surgeons are recommending it pre- and post-surgery for prevention.

Types of non-healing wounds?

Diabetic Ulcers (lower extremities)

Pressure Ulcers and Venous Leg Ulcers (not insurance covered

Compromised skin grafts and flaps (post surgical, including cosmetic, reconstructive such as breast, amputations, etc.)

Failed surgical procedures (including cosmetic)

Osteomyelitis (bone infection)

Osteoradionecrosis (bone death due to cancer radiation)

Delayed radiation injury (from cancer treatments,)

Often at site of previous radiation, can be internal/long term)

How do non-healing wounds heal?

HBOT has played a major role in allowing these types of chronic wounds to heal with hyperoxygenation allowing vascular connective tissue to be oxygenated. This facilitates the wound healing process that includes increasing collagen growth and the white blood cells antibacterial properties.

Breathing 100% medical grade oxygen in a controlled pressurized chamber promotes new blood vessel growth, which allows tissue repair. It helps heal nerve endings to reduce pain and length and severity of pain cycles, while helping promote new tissue growth for wound bed healing.

Wounds can be like a natural disaster such as a hurricane or wildfire, in which the damaging forces must be identified and stopped before we can begin to repair the damage. HBOT, especially with a functional approach, helps heal that underlying cause (or ongoing natural disaster), as well as repair the damage. Explore the numerous benefits of HBOT, especially in non-healing wounds and join all the patients who have been able to look better and feel better, inside and out.

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