Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Oral Surgery

If you’ve ever heard of hyperbaric oxygen treatment you probably thought of divers who get the “bends”, excess nitrogen that forms bubbles in the blood during decompression. A hyperbaric chamber supplies pure oxygen to eliminate them and the diver can safely return to the surface.

Hyperbaric chambers aren't just for scuba divers.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) is also used as a medical healing treatment. The patient enters a hyperbaric chamber that regulates the flow of oxygen and controls air pressure.  This allows the blood to carry more oxygen to the tissues, promoting new tissue and blood vessel growth. The high level of oxygen in the blood aids in fighting infection caused by a variety of bacteria. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used for gunshot wounds, falls or car accidents as well as burns, skin grafts, and other trauma where healing may not respond to normal treatment.

Patients undergoing treatment for head and neck radiation for cancer were among the first to undergo HBO therapy. When these patients needed oral surgery they were vulnerable to healing difficultites because of the toxic effects of the radiation on the jaw bone. After a course of HBO therapy there was a much higher success rate in oral surgery in this group of patients. HBO therapy speeds healing and increases the chance that any oral surgery after radiation treatment will succeed.

Dr. Wagner may use HBO therapy to treat wound healing in bone that has been exposed to radiation. We’ve seen a big difference in healing and recovery and continue to recommend this course of therapy when appropriate.

If you know someone who has undergone radiation therapy for head and neck cancer and needs to undergo a related surgical procedure, such as oral surgery, HBO therapy should certainly be considered to help with that care. Wagner Oral Surgery is your best choice to ensure proper treatment and successful healing.

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