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Health and medical services at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy: Frequently asked questions

We're here to help! If you have questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy that aren't answered below, please call us at 317-355-6700.

Do I have to go somewhere else for treatments?

No, you’ll come to the Advanced Wound Center for treatment. Your therapy will be supervised by a specially trained physician and monitored by a trained technician each day.

Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?

Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of chronic, non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare’s guidelines as well. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you know what your cost will be.

What can I do during HBO therapy?

Each chamber is equipped with its own television so that you can watch TV or a movie during your treatment. You may not bring anything into the chamber with you, including books and newspapers. Many patients simply use the time to catch up on well-deserved rest.

How long do HBO treatments last?

On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment depth.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of HBO treatments is not pre-set each person responds differently to the therapy. The average number of treatments required to heal a patient with a problem wound is 20 to 60.

How many times a day will I be treated?

For most chronic wounds, you will attend HBO treatment Monday through Friday.

Is HBO therapy painful?

No, the only sensation you will experience is during the pressurization phase of the treatment. The slowly increasing pressure will push on your eardrums. This is exactly the same feeling you would experience when landing in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you about different methods of relieving this ear pressure.

Is HBO therapy dangerous?

No, the treatment is very safe. Your Advanced Wound Center has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Before your first treatment, you will be given a thorough orientation.

What if I feel claustrophobic?

Interestingly enough, most hyperbaric patients do not suffer from claustrophobia. This could be due to either the large size of the chamber or the fact that is has a clear acrylic shell. From inside the chamber, it is possible to see out in all directions. If you still feel anxious about your treatment, the hyperbaric physician can prescribe medication that will relax you and make your treatment less stressful.

How can I communicate with the technician?

The chamber is equipped with two way communication. You can talk to the outside technician at any time. The technician can talk to you through the chamber microphone.

How do I find out if HBO is for me?

If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in four weeks, consult the Advanced Wound Center. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an appropriate part of the treatment plan. A physician at the center will evaluate your wound and determine the course of treatment.

Can someone stay with me during therapy?

To protect the privacy of our patients, family members may not remain with you during your treatment. A waiting room is provided for their comfort. A trained technician is always in the room during treatment and can communicate with you at any time.

What should I wear?

Since safety is our priority, we provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy.

  • Contact lenses
  • Makeup or nail polish
  • Wigs or hair pieces
  • Skin lotions, deodorant, perfume, cologne or aftershave
  • Jewelry, including watches and earrings
  • Hairspray or oils

What should I bring with me?

If you have a movie or CD you would like to watch or listen to, please bring it with you. Otherwise, you don’t need to bring anything.

If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the technician know so we can make you more comfortable.

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