Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) for Plastic Surgery Patients

by Trudi Schrieber

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) for Plastic Surgery Patients

When you open a can of cola, you’ll hear that “pop” or fizz caused by the release of pressure on the liquid inside. Before you crack the seal of the can, the contents are highly pressurized, enabling the liquid inside to hold CO2 bubbles, or carbonation. If you were to leave your opened can sit for a few days, you’d find that your cola goes “flat,” because the air in the liquid escapes. Why, exactly, does this happen? If you recall from chemistry or physics class, when you increase the pressure on a liquid, you also increase the liquid’s ability to absorb gas. The same law applies to your bloods ability to absorb oxygen, and doctors have learned to use pressure to improve blood’s oxygenation, which has many positive consequences for patients.

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

The therapy, called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO), allows a patient to breathe 100% oxygen at pressures greater than normal atmospheric pressure. The pressure causes the blood to take up greater volumes of oxygen, which speeds the healing process by increasing blood flow and oxygen receipt to damaged tissues. HBO has proven effective for a variety of health conditions including burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic ulcers, wounds that won’t heal, soft tissue infections, and more. Many doctors have begun using HBO to help plastic surgery patients recover more quickly after surgery. HBO helps minimize swelling, cut down pain, and speed up the body’s healing processes. Oxygen also has an anti-bacterial effect, which helps reduce possible infections, or fight off infection if a patient has complications. The therapy is said to reduce recovery times by 33 to 50 percent.

How is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Administered?

Patients undergoing hyperbaric treatment for speedier recovery after surgery will attend a series of therapy sessions following surgery. During the therapy, individuals lay on a bed encased in a clear plastic chamber. The chamber’s pressure increases and the doctor fills the chamber with oxygen. The sensation in the chamber has been likened to the feel of a descending airplane. The session may last up to 90 minutes, and many doctors set up a television or radio for patients during the treatment. Patients undergoing HBO for post-op wound healing will likely need to attend several treatments. Some doctors recommend pre-op sessions for patients, as well. The total number of hyperbaric treatments will depend on the individual patient.

How Much Does HBO Cost?

Costs will vary depending on a number of factors, including the number of sessions necessary, length of each session, your geographic area, and your doctor’s fees. On average, a 50-minute session tends to cost around $100-200.

How Can I Receive Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Many plastic surgeons are now administering HBO to their patients after procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, and more. Many surgeons in the Plastic Surgery Portal network can discuss HBO with patients who are good candidates for the therapy. To find out how you can increase your body’s ability to heal after plastic surgery through hyperbaric treatment, and whether you are a good candidate for HBO, contact our representatives today. They will schedule your personal consultation with a plastic surgeon in your area.

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