Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is Available at the Carson Tahoe Center for Wound Healing.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment that helps improve your body’s natural healing process and strengthens your immune system. The treatment is performed in a state-of-the-art chamber where you breathe 100% oxygen (the air we breathe only contains 21% oxygen) with air pressure greater than sea level atmospheric pressure. Pressurization allows a higher concentration of oxygen to reach your body’s tissues and speeds up the body’s natural healing process. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a reputable procedure that has been used for over 30 years to treat a variety of medical conditions, including non-healing wounds, radiation tissue damage, and bone infections.

How can I Benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

By increasing the levels of oxygen in your blood, hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers many potential benefits for patients, including:

  • Promote healing by delivering more oxygen to injured tissues
  • Greater blood vessel formation
  • Better wound healing
  • Reduced swelling
  • Decreased infection risk
  • Preservation of damaged tissues
  • Stimulation of new bone formation
  • Decreased effects derived from toxic substances

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Right for Me?

The FDA authorizes the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a treatment option for the following medical conditions:

  • Problem wounds caused by an injury or illness (including diabetes)
  • Osteomyelitis (infection of bone or bone marrow)
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis (radiation tissue damage)
  • Osteoradionecrosis (bone healing difficulty caused by high doses of radiation)
  • Clostridial myositis and myonecrosis (also known as gas gangrene, which is tissue death stemming from loss of adequate blood supply)
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps (due to inadequate blood supply)
  • Traumatic crash injuries, crush injuries, and other acute traumatic ischemias
  • Compartment syndrome (compression of nerves and blood vessels within an enclosed space, leading to muscle and nerve damage)
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infection (bacterial infection that may destroy tissues)
  • Carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning
  • Air or gas embolism (gas bubbles trapped in the bloodstream, often tied to diving)
  • Decompression sickness (“bends”)
  • Thermal burns (from hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, flames)
  • Limb salvage, reattachment, amputations
  • Severe anemia
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Actinomycosis
  • Central retinal artery occlusion
  • Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Covered by Insurance?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Most health insurance plans provide coverage for all the conditions listed above. The amount of treatment covered by insurance varies according to your plan benefits, so please check with your insurance company for specific benefits.

How Can I Get a Referral?

Your physician starts the referral process by calling (775) 445-5632. Your physician and the clinical director will discuss your condition and determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy is right for you. If so, you will be able to schedule an evaluation with a certified hyperbaric oxygen therapy physician, who will then develop an individualized therapy plan for you.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

The number of treatments you will need varies based on your specific injury, illness, or condition. For example, if you are being treated for toxic exposure (such as carbon monoxide), you will only need one or two treatments. By contrast, if you’re a wound healing patient, you may need to undergo 30-40 treatments in order to have the best outcome.

How do I Prepare for Treatments?

There are certain steps that you will need to take to ensure maximum safety and therapeutic benefit. You will receive detailed instructions before your first treatment. The instructions will include a list of items that are not allowed in the chamber (such as jewelry, makeup, aftershave, hair spray, ointments, reading materials, and smoking supplies). Because the treatment involves 100% oxygen, you may not bring any smoking supplies, including lighters and matches. You will also be given special cotton clothing to wear during your treatments.

What can I Expect During my Treatments?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment. You will be able to watch TV, listen to music, or simply rest throughout your therapy sessions. The chamber walls are made up of clear acrylic materials, allowing you and the hyperbaric technologists to see each other throughout the treatment. The chamber also includes a two-way intercom, allowing you to speak to them at any time.

Because the treatment includes pressure changes, you may occasionally experience a sensation of “fullness” in your ears. The feeling is similar to the sensation you may experience when flying in an airplane. Before your treatments start, you’ll listen to an introduction and treatment overview, which includes several easy ways to avoid ear discomfort.

How Long do Treatment Sessions Last?

On average, treatment sessions last about 90 minutes each. Please allow an additional 30 minutes for preparation and departure time.