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If you';ve heard a lot of media buzz about hyperbaric chambers lately, it has probably been associated with obsessively conditioned athletes or slightly-off-kilter pop stars. The publicized use of this tool by people in the entertainment industry has overshadowed the true science and medical benefits of hyperbarics.
"It';s not a spa treatment; it';s a clinical therapy," says Andrew Fazio, Program Director of the Wound Care Center® at The Chester County Hospital. The Center provides advanced wound healing techniques and state-of-the-art wound assessment, testing and treatment for individuals suffering from acute and hard-to-heal wounds.
Oxygen is good and necessary for all living things. The pure concentration and variable pressurization of the hyperbaric treatment restores damaged tissue and controls infection. In essence, breathing 100% oxygen while pressurized in 100% oxygen, allows the entire body to be completely saturated by this healing gas, thus allowing wounds to mend faster from the inside and out.
In March, the Center received certification to offer this type of outpatient therapy in its brand new state-of-the-art hyperbaric chamber. This medical service is available to current qualified Center patients, as well as new qualified referrals mainly prescribed by Radiation Oncologists, Urologists, Plastic Surgeons, and Podiatrists. It has been specifically approved for treatment of certain diabetic foot wounds, arterial limb ischemia, failed skin grafts, soft tissue/bone radiation injury, and recurrent bone infection. Like any type of therapy though, the cumulative build up of the treatment is what provides the healing benefit.
"Patients need to be committed to the process," Fazio says honestly, sharing that it is a two-hour-a-day, five-day-a-week treatment that takes up to six weeks depending on a physician';s prescription. "The time commitment for the patient is considerable, so we go to great lengths to ensure their comfort and satisfaction, in addition to their safety." A physician, certified in hyperbarics, is always on site during a session, and a nurse, also certified, never leaves the room and communicates with the patient the entire time.
Now that has a nice buzz to it.
Call the Wound Care Center® at 610-738-2590.
This article was originally published in Synapse (Summer 2008) - the Hospital';s magazine.
Last Updated: 7/17/2009