Hyperbaric Oxygen: An adjunctive therapy to help heal radiation induced injuries
Even with advances in the delivery of radiation therapy, approximately 5% of patients will experience complications within five years of their radiation exposure. Radiation causes injury to soft tissue and bone, leading to hypoxic and/or avascular tissue necrosis. This results in degeneration of blood vessels that continues throughout the patient’s life. Patients experiencing this type soft tissue or bone damage generally present with painful, progressive and often disabling tissue breakdown.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy improves radiation injury outcomes
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the most studied and frequently reported therapies in the treatment of delayed radiation injuries. There are three key beneficial effects of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of irradiated tissue:
- Stimulates angiogenesis through establishing wound tissue oxygen gradients
- Improves tissue oxygenation
- Decreases fibrosis of tissue
The goal of HBO treatment is to provide adequate granulation to support spontaneous or surgically supported wound healing.
Breathing 100% oxygen under pressure causes the oxygen to diffuse into the blood plasma. This oxygen-rich plasma is able to travel past the restriction, diffusing up to 3 times further into the tissue. The pressurized environment helps to reduce swelling and discomfort, while providing the body with at least 10 times its normal supply of oxygen to help repair damaged tissue.
Blood Vessel Regeneration
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy forces more oxygen into the tissue, encouraging the formation of new blood vessels. As these new blood vessels develop, the red blood cells start to flow, delivering even more oxygen to the affected area. This creates the optimal environment for the body’s natural healing processes to repair damaged tissue.
The Methodist Wound Treatment Center is located in Oak Ridge on the campus of Methodist Medical Center, and is conveniently located to Knoxville. The Wound Treatment Center is an outpatient program that focuses on chronic and non-healing wounds. Using advanced treatment modalities and a case management model, we help patients improve the quality of their lives. In partnership with physicians, nurses and multiple medical disciplines, we provide invaluable care for patients.
For a brochure about treating radiation wounds, click here.