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When you meet with the HBO physician, an important question to ask them is how many treatments are typically required for your problem.  For diabetic ulcers the typical treatment course ranges from 20-40 treatments, depending on clinical response.  A rare patient with a large wound and bone infection may need as many as 60 treatments but this is very rare.  Patients dealing with late effects of radiation will treat 20-40 times (typically 30-40 in most cases).  Again–a rare patient may require additional treatments up to as many as 60 but this is an extreme case as well. It is a good idea to obtain a second opinion from another hyperbaric medicine practice in the unusual situation where the physician states the anticipated number of treatments is greater than 40, particularly when you are just getting started with your therapy.

An excellent source of information on the average number of treatments a particular HBO physician uses can be found in the Medicare data published by CMS (the organization that administers Medicare).  Simply search for the physician’s name then find the row listing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  The report will list the total count of times the service was provided as well as total unique benefit recipients.  Simply divide total service count by the unique benefit recipient count and you get the average times this physician has treated each patient.  For example, here’s Dr. Marcus’ data from our Cumming office:  As of this writing, the CMS report shows Dr. Marcus treated 39 individual Medicare recipients for a total of 864 treatments, an average of 22 treatments per patient, or right about what would be expected as an average—somewhere between 20 to 35 treatments per patient.  This average shows the provider is using clinical response to determine the stopping point rather than other factors such as insurance approval.  Have questions?  Use our email contact link on the page.  You’ll get an answer directly from Dr. David Schwegman, Medical Director of Hyperbaric Physicians of Georgia.