Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Following are answers to some common patient questions about hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy at Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s (SMMC) Wound Care Center.
Why have I been referred for HBO therapy?
HBO increases the amount of oxygen in your blood that circulates to body tissues. This oxygen-rich blood holds distinct benefits and can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
Preservation of damaged tissues
Increased blood vessel formation.
Do I need a physician referral?
Patients must have a referral from their physician to make an appointment for HBO treatment. Your physician will continue to be responsible for your general medical management and will closely monitor your care with the HBO team of specialists, which includes physician specialists, nurses and technicians with specialized HBO training.
What should I expect?
During HBO treatments, you will relax in a clear, atmosphere-controlled chamber. You will have the ability to move around, listen to music, watch television, nap or converse with the staff.
Is HBO therapy safe?
Our HBO team will work with your physician and closely monitor you during treatment to ensure your therapy is safe and effective. HBO treatment normally has few or no side effects, which will be discussed directly with you.
Is HBO therapy painful?
Treatment in the HBO chamber is not painful. You may feel a plugging sensation in your ears from the pressurization, similar to what is experienced while flying in an airplane.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required depends on each patient’s specific condition. Your team of specialists will discuss your treatment regimen before you begin therapy. Although a few conditions require only three to six treatments, most conditions require as many as 20-40 treatments. Your schedule will depend on your body’s response to HBO therapy.
Is HBO covered by insurance?
HBO therapy is reimbursable by Medicare and most other third party payers for certain accepted conditions. In most cases, preauthorization must be obtained prior to the start of therapy.
What should I wear?
You will be provided with a 100 percent cotton garment to wear during HBO therapy. A storage area will be available for your personal items. However, you may wish to leave valuables at home.
How do I prepare for treatment?
Medication: Some medicines are not compatible with HBO therapy. Please let us know all medications you are currently taking so each can be considered in relation to HBO treatment. In addition, let us know if changes in your medication are needed during the course of treatment.
Colds and Illnesses: Please notify the HBO therapy staff if you have symptoms of cold, flu, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever blisters, cold sores, nausea, vomiting or general body aches. These conditions may cause a temporary delay in your treatment.
Smoking: Using tobacco of any kind, including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars and snuff, limits the delivery of blood and oxygen to your body tissues.
Cosmetics: Any makeup, hair spray, perfume, deodorant or shaving lotion that has a petroleum or alcohol base may not be used immediately prior to treatment. Discuss your skin products with staff to make sure they are safe to use in the HBO therapy chamber.
Additional Information: No watches, rings or jewelry are allowed in the chamber while receiving HBO therapy. In addition, any prosthetic devices, dentures, partial plates, hearing aids and certain types of contact lenses will need to be removed prior to treatment.