Did you know that around 160,000 skin grafts are performed every year? Skin grafts are among the many procedures and conditions that can be treated with the help of a hyperbaric chamber. If you’ve never seen or used a hyperbaric chamber, you might be wondering, “What is a hyperbaric chamber exactly?”
Luckily, this is the article that will give you all the answers you need. To start off, let’s take a closer look at how a hyperbaric oxygen chamber works and what benefits it can offer to those who are recovering from various conditions.
What Is a Hyperbaric Chamber
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers have a relatively recent history compared to the long history of medicine in general. The idea of providing oxygen as a treatment for certain conditions in the early 1900s. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy only took off as a real treatment in the 1940s to help divers recover from decompression sickness.
It was only in the 1960s that hyperbaric oxygen chambers started to be used to treat the public, especially carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a common condition for divers, miners, and firefighters. Miners and firefighters tend to get carbon monoxide poisoning due to the inhalation of smoke or other toxic fumes.
There are two main types of oxygen chambers: monoplace chambers and multiplace chambers. A monoplace chamber is an oblong plastic tube designed to house one person. The person that requires hyperbaric oxygen therapy is slid into the tube much like how a person enters an MRI machine.
The tube is then slowly filled with oxygen until the air inside the tube is 100% oxygen. A multiplace chamber, on the other hand, is a room designed to house many people at one time. The result of the therapy in a multiplace chamber is more or less the same as the result of a monoplace chamber.
However, in a multiplace chamber, the people inside the chamber will need to wear oxygen masks or hoods. This is because the room can’t be filled with oxygen in the same way a tube can. A home hyperbaric chamber is also an option if you know where to look for the best home hyperbaric chamber for sale.
What to Expect from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
You might be wondering what it might be like to experience hyperbaric oxygen therapy, especially if your healthcare provider has recommended it to you as a potential treatment. Oxygen therapy is actually a very calming and painless experience. However, hyperbaric oxygen therapy might not be for everyone.
For example, if you have sustained a recent injury to your ear or if you have had surgery on your ear, you should not try hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is because one of the few and most common complications associated with this kind of therapy involves middle ear trauma. If you have a cold, fever, or lung problems, you should not go through with oxygen therapy either.
This is because of how hyperbaric oxygen therapy might damage the sinuses or the lungs. The damage would result from the change of pressure inside the hyperbaric chamber in relation to the pressure inside the body.
It is important to know that complications from hyperbaric oxygen chambers are quite rare. They should not deter you from this therapy if your healthcare provider thinks it might be a good option for you.
When you are in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, whether it’s a monoplace or multiplace chamber, all you have to do is sit and breathe deeply. The amount of time you are in the chamber can vary but most oxygen therapy sessions do not last any longer than two hours. As the pressure changes in the chamber, you may feel pressure in your ears, but you can fix this by swallowing or yawning to pop your ears.
Because of the change in pressure, you may feel dizzy once you leave the chamber.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Treat Various Conditions
The way hyperbaric oxygen therapy works its magic is by providing blood and injured tissues with more oxygen. In particular, the extra oxygen feeds into platelets in the blood. Platelets are important for blood clotting and wound healing.
When skin and muscle are severely damaged such as in the case in skin grafts, gangrene, and wounds in general, the injuries can take a long time to heal. This is because there is often swelling in the area that can prevent enough oxygen from reaching the wounds, ultimately slowing the healing process. In severe cases, swelling can stop the healing process entirely and lead to tissue death.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is able to bring down the swelling and carry more oxygen to the injured tissues. Oxygen also stimulates the body to create more collagen and other connective tissues for the healing process. This is possible through the way oxygen promotes the creation of new blood vessels which provide more oxygenated blood.
Oxygen can even stimulate white blood cells that function to destroy foreign invaders such as bacteria. This ultimately makes infections less likely. This is important for several reasons.
For example, infections can often occur in serious wounds. More than that, infections can ruin the healing process completely. So, avoiding infections entirely is always ideal.
Everything You Need to Know About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
By the end of this article, you should no longer be wondering what a hyperbaric chamber is. Instead, you now know how hyperbaric oxygen therapy works and how it can benefit the body in many different ways.
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