Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
A wound that won't heal is a major health concern. Often caused by problems such as poor circulation or diabetes, stubborn wounds can affect comfort, mobility, ability to work and self-care. It also increases the risk for dangerous infections, gangrene and amputation.
Infectious Disease and Wound Center at Gundersen Health System offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat chronic, hard-to-heal wounds such as:
- Diabetic foot ulcers to preserve limbs
- Vascular insufficiency
- Non-healing skin grafts and skin flap
- Delayed radiation injury
- Persistent or recurrent bone and tissue infections
How hyperbaric therapy works
Usually standard wound therapy and nutrition are used for 30 days, but if that fails, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an option.
With hyperbaric oxygen therapy the patient receives high concentrations of oxygen—typically two to three times normal atmospheric pressure—while in the pressurized hyperbaric chamber. This increases the amount of oxygen breathed in by 10 to 15 times over normal levels. Increasing oxygen through hyperbaric therapy:
- Mobilizes stem cells and growth factors to promote healing
- Stimulates growth of new capillaries (small blood vessels) that are vital in the exchange of water, oxygen and nutrients
- Fights infection by arresting the growth of bacteria
With hyperbaric oxygen therapy the patient must visit Gundersen Health System in La Crosse for 90-minute sessions, five days a week for a month or more. This is a significant time commitment, but the improvement in wound(s) from these non-invasive, painless treatments help get people back to everyday activities and enjoying an improved quality of life.
Gundersen has two hyperbaric chambers. For maximum comfort, our chambers are the largest and longest available, accommodating patients up to 700 lb. During treatments, there's access to a flat screen TV and our GetWell Network with free TV, relaxation videos or movies.
The only hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the area
Gundersen is the only healthcare facility in our area to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It is typically covered by insurance once specific criteria have been met.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is delivered on Level 4 of the Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse. To learn more, talk with your primary care provider, wound care specialist or call Infectious Disease and Wound Center at (608) 775-6882.