FAQs for Hyperbaric Physicians of Georgia
Our facility has contractual arrangements with most commercial insurance carriers, along with Medicare and Medicaid. Before your appointment, our administrative staff member will contact your insurance provider and verify your insurance benefits. At that time, we will obtain information regarding any contractual out-of-pocket costs associated with your deductible and/or copay obligations. This information, although approximate, will be provided to you in writing before incurring any costs so you can make your decision to continue. We recommend that you follow up with your insurance carrier to obtain the most accurate information on your health care plan benefits.
HBOT is a process of breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized multiplace (multiple patients at the same time) or monoplace (single person) chamber. This increases the oxygen delivery to the tissues and compromised wound areas of the body. Breathing oxygen under pressure:
- Dissolves increasing amounts of oxygen into the blood plasma which then carries oxygen into compromised tissues.
- Decreases tissue hypoxia (low oxygen tension).
- Enhances white blood cell and stem cell activity at the wound site.
- Accelerates the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the compromised or damaged tissue.
Yes. The chamber equipment we use is FDA approved. We continually train our staff in current HBOT procedures and safety protocols. We take what we do seriously and work hard every day to ensure each patient is monitored during their entire time in the center. We provide patient education during your visit and ensure that all questions and concerns are addressed. Your safety, as well as the safety of our staff, is of paramount importance.
You may wear whatever you are comfortable with in getting to/from the appointment. Once there, the facility will provide you with clean and appropriate attire to change in to at each visit. You will change clothing in the changing room provided and place your valuables in a locker with its individual key that will be kept with you or in a secure location at all times.
We recommend that you eat your breakfast, lunch, and/or typical snack as usual before coming to treatment. You will be inside the chamber for approximately 2 hours, and we do not want you to get hungry. The hyperbaric physician will review your medications prescribed by your physician and will discuss any changes or adjustments that need to be made. If no issues are identified, make no changes to your routine. If you have any concerns, please bring it to the attention of the staff or physician immediately, and they will address it with you.
There is very little sensation while undergoing HBO therapy. During the pressurization phase, you will experience a “fullness” buildup in your ears that is related to the pressure change inside the chamber. Before you start therapy, you will be taught a variety of techniques to alleviate that fullness buildup. The technician will also remind you before each treatment of the techniques until it becomes routine for you. If you have difficulty with normalizing the pressure buildup during compression, the technician will slow or halt pressurization until you have adequately cleared. As a matter of procedure, the technician compresses the chamber slowly and is available to you the entire treatment. This pressure sensation in the ears is a similar feeling of driving through the mountains, going up in a plane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool.
The chambers are equipped with TV’s that allow you to watch a movie or television channel of your choice from the selection provided. You can also rest or nap. The technician will communicate with you periodically during the treatment.
The majority of our treatment protocols last between one to two hours with our typical treatment lasting approximately two hours. The hyperbaric physician will determine the appropriate protocol for you based on your clinical indication and specific issues.
Most treatment regimens are between 20 to 40 treatments. The hyperbaric physician will determine the total number of treatments needed. This will be based on your progress and the indication for which you are receiving hyperbaric oxygen.
It is very important that hyperbaric treatments are administered on a regular basis, five days per week, Monday through Friday. The positive effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatments are maximized with this treatment protocol.
You will be monitored by a trained and qualified hyperbaric technician during your entire treatment. They will be the ones that greet you in the hyperbaric room, give you the clothing to change in to, take your vital signs, and go over the treatment process and ear clearing techniques. A hyperbaric physician is available during hyperbaric therapy and they will monitor your progress and answer any questions.
Yes. As a matter of courtesy, our physicians will be in communication with your referring and/or primary care physician to keep them abreast of your progress. Our physician will consult with them if any clinical issues arise that need to be addressed.
Your medical history will be thoroughly evaluated by our hyperbaric physician before any treatments are started, and they will talk with you in detail about the effects of hyperbaric therapy on your blood sugar. It is very important that you be very honest with the physician during the consultation about your typical eating patterns so they can provide the most appropriate instruction to our clinical team. The hyperbaric physician will monitor your blood sugars during your therapy, and will make suggestions to better control your blood glucose levels.
Hyperbaric therapy often lowers blood glucose levels. Blood sugars can drop dramatically, and you will have your blood sugars checked before and after treatments. You should eat your meals and take your medications as directed. If the level is below what the hyperbaric physician deems appropriate for you, we will provide nourishment (as an example, Glucerna) and re-check the blood glucose levels until they are within an acceptable range.
After the treatment is complete and you are out of the chamber, the technician will perform another glucose check to ensure your levels are adequate. Only then you will be ready to change and go about your day.
To receive the maximum benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are encouraged not to smoke during the course of therapy. Smoking (even one cigarette) causes blood vessels to constrict, which decreases the blood and oxygen supply to tissue, counteracting the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen. If you still feel the need to smoke, please refrain from smoking at least 2 hours before and after a therapy session.
The most common side effect is barotrauma (damage to the eardrums and sinuses caused by pressure changes). To minimize this risk, our technicians will educate you on the various techniques used to facilitate adequate clearing (alleviating pressure buildup) of the ears during compression. Other side effects are more uncommon but may include oxygen toxicity, claustrophobia, and among diabetic patients, a drop in blood glucose. Occasionally some patients experience minor visual changes after 20 treatments, but this is self-correcting after the treatment ends. Other side effects are infrequent but will be discussed with you at your consultation. Overall, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very safe.