Is hyperbaric medicine right for you? Bangkok Hospital Siriroj was one of the first medical facilities to introduce a Hyperbaric Chamber Facility to Thailand. Here’s how it may be able to help you.
What is hyperbaric medicine?
Although oxygen is what sustains human life, when you breathe in, you are actually inhaling a blend of gases that make up the Earth’s atmosphere. In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, patients inhale pure, undiluted oxygen in a special environment where the air pressure is triple what it would normally be.
What are some of the benefits of hyperbaric medicine?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has long been used as a treatment for divers suffering from decompression sickness, but it also offers a host of other benefits. Because your body needs oxygen to heal itself, flooding your system with unadulterated oxygen may be able to help you fight off certain infections and encourage cellular growth. This can help patients recover from any surgery or injury that results in tissue damage. Although there has been some speculation that it may help with a wide range of other diseases and infections, more scientific research is needed to support these claims.
What are some of the risks?
Fortunately, hyperbaric oxygen treatment is generally quite safe and very seldom leads to serious medical complications. Nevertheless, as with any kind of procedure, it does carry a small chance of certain risks. In rare cases, the changes in pressure have the potential to lead to a collapsed lung and damage to the inner ear or eyes. If not monitored carefully, the surplus of oxygen can lead to seizures in some patients. Also, although this essentially never happens in a controlled medical environment, it is important to note that a pure oxygen environment is extremely flammable. As a result, it’s important not to have anything on your body that could set off a spark and lead to a spontaneous fire.
How should you prepare for your treatment?
This is a minor procedure that usually does not require any sort of extensive preparations. As with any procedure, you should consult your doctor first. They may ask you to avoid any lotions or products that contain petroleum, due to the elevated fire risk. They will also probably point out that in order to experience any noticeable benefits from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you will probably need to schedule several return visits. This can range from three or four sessions to counter carbon monoxide poisoning to more than 20 sessions to heal certain types of wounds.