Oxygen Therapy Before and After Surgery
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy prior to surgery increases the body’s ability to respond to the trauma of surgery and fight off the infection-causing agents that can quickly proliferate in a wound. Smokers who plan to have cosmetic surgery are advised to quit at least four weeks prior to undergoing a procedure because the toxic qualities of tobacco smoke impede the healing process. Mild hyperbaric therapy before surgery floods the body with oxygen to help the body eliminate carbon monoxide and other harmful gases introduced by tobacco smoke.
Hyperbaric therapy after surgery increases the availability of oxygen to damaged tissues and cells, speeding healing times, and greatly reducing the chance of infection. Enhanced delivery of oxygen to the surgical site allows the body to regenerate cells quickly, which reduces scarring and improves the appearance of a cosmetic procedure’s final result.
How Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps the Body Heal
The surgical cutting of skin and cartilage severs tiny blood vessels and causes natural swelling and edema in the tissues surrounding the surgical site. Until the body can repair the damaged blood vessels, blood flow to the tissues and cells they feed is disrupted. Swelling and edema compress healthy blood vessels, further restricting the flow of blood and oxygen. Cells deprived of sufficient life-sustaining oxygen are slow to heal and may die, further hindering the healing process.
The pressurized environment of the hyperbaric chamber allows up to a tenfold increase in the oxygen level of the blood plasma. Hyper-oxygenated plasma and red blood cells travel to compromised tissues so that cells and tissues receive the oxygen they need to regenerate and heal. Oxygen saturation also greatly increases the ability of blood cells to modify their shape so that they can pass through restricted blood vessels and swollen tissues to deliver healing oxygen to the surgical site. As a result, healing is faster and more thorough.
Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps Our Patients Heal Quickly
An unavoidable part of any cosmetic surgery procedure is trauma to the body. Tissues and cartilage subjected to the surgeon’s scalpel suffer damage to the blood vessels that carry vital oxygen to the surgical site. Swelling and edema (accumulation of excess fluid in connective tissue) are the body’s natural reaction to trauma, and they too can impede the delivery of oxygen to damaged tissues. Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy speeds healing by delivering oxygen to cells that might otherwise be deprived of this vital element. Patients who undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy before and after a surgical procedure heal up to 80 percent more quickly than those who do not use oxygen therapy, and they have greatly reduced scarring because the body has all the oxygen it needs to repair the surgical site.
Oxygen Therapy and the Immune System
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy also helps the body heal by giving the immune system a needed boost. Any type of surgery depresses the immune system, which increases the chance of infection. When the cells responsible for protecting the body against infection encounter a bacterium, they require additional oxygen to fight off and kill the harmful agent. If the immune cells have insufficient oxygen to carry on the battle, bacteria quickly overwhelm the immune system, and infection occurs. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy ensures that the immune system and its infection-fighting cells have all the oxygen necessary to keep the surgical site and the body healthy.
Cosmetic Surgery and HBOT
Today the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy by cosmetic surgeons is quickly on the rise. There are between 10 to 12 million cosmetic procedures performed each year in the United States alone. HBOT can benefit patients of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, such as tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, liposuction, facelifts, and breast augmentation. In addition, chemical peels and laser resurfacing are non-surgical procedures where HBOT can prove to be extremely effective.
In studies, patients who receive HBOT recover 30% to 50% faster than those who do not receive the treatment. They see a reduction in swelling, less bruising and less inflammation. Risk of infection is also reduced in the incision site, and scarring is less significant. A considerable reduction in pain allows the patient to return to normal lifestyle much faster. In non-surgical procedures, patients see the redness associated with the laser resurfacing and chemical peels diminish much faster.
Smokers, people with compromised immune systems, overweight patients and anyone who has pre-existing health problems that will affect their overall recovery are the best candidates for HBOT. In addition to post-opt oxygen therapy, surgeons often will recommend at least a few sessions prior to operation in order to optimize results.