What is Radiation Injury?
Modern cancer treatment protocols include radiation in over 50% of cases. This has had the positive effect of increasing survival. Some of these survivors will experience the late effects of radiation. These delayed effects impact the surrounding normal tissue and become evident months to years after the treatment protocols are over.
Radiation injury to these normal tissues results in cell death, damage to blood vessels in the irradiated field, a depletion of stem cells that promote normal healing and the buildup of fibrotic tissue. The decreased blood supply and increasing hypoxia makes surgery in these areas challenging. The soft tissues such as bowel and bladder are more prone to bleeding and in many instances cause significant negative impact on a patient’s quality of life.
Treating Radiation Injury with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Multiple studies have shown the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in helping to heal the damage from curative radiation therapy in the pelvic region, in the head and neck, in the lower extremity for skin cancer, and in breast cancer survivors.
Research & Studies
- Long-term Incidence of Hematuria, Urethral Stricture & Bladder Cancer after Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
- Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of chronic refractory radiation proctitis: a randomized and controlled double-blind crossover trial with long-term follow-up.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and delayed radiation injuries (soft tissue and bony necrosis): 2012 update.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for hemorrhagic radiation cystitis.
- Adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2)for treatment of necrotizing fasciitis reduces mortality and amputation rate.
The Healing Power of Hyperbaric Medicine
HBOT helps white blood cells kill bacteria, and help osteoclast clean up the dead and infected bone. Once the infection is under control and all the dead bone is gone, new bone is laid down by osteoclasts. These processes require high levels of oxygen to function optimally. HBOT also helps antibiotics work better, and in conjunction with some antibiotics, helps eradicate the biofilms that form in many of these cases.
Increases White Blood Cell Effectiveness
Stimulates Release of Stem Cells
Improves Quality of Life in Patients
Most Conditions Covered by Insurance
How Long Does a Hyperbaric Treatment Take?
Most HBOT treatments generally take about 2 hours. Treatments for some indications can last up to 4 hours. Serious diving injuries can require a treatment for longer than 5 hours. The hyperbaric physician will determine how long each patient’s HBOT treatment will last.
Does Insurance Cover Hyperbaric Treatments?
Coverage for HBO is dependent on your insurance company’s Coverage Determination Policy.
Some indications are still not covered or coverage can vary by insurance provider. Contact us to verify coverage.