Healing with Hyperbarics

Normally, all cells are within the diffusion distance of oxygen from capillaries.  Each cell is able to receive the necessary oxygen for normal function. In healthy tissue, there are enough vessels within appropriate distance to all cells, as seen to the right.


The figure on the right demonstrates tissue under hyperbaric conditions, which decreases edema and increases tissue oxygenation.  Edema is decreased by increasing reabsorption.  Tissue oxygenation. is restored due to the high content of oxygen in the blood, allowing the diffusion distance of oxygen to increase several fold.  This allows return of normal cellular function to the ischemic cells.  Necrotic tissue remains nonviable, most all other cells recover.

After several hyperbaric treatments, angiogenesis begins, restoring more normal blood flow, as demonstrated to the left.  Surrounding cells are able to begin to remove the necrotic or dead tissue.  This is especially important with bone, tendon and ligament injuries which have much less blood flow normally.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Works

The figure to the left demonstrates tissue after a trauma.  With an insult, capillaries are injured, interstitial fluid increases, and cells swell.  Under these conditions, some cells are outside the diffusion gradient.  They become ischemic or possibly necrotic.  The injured blood vessels are indicated in grey, ischemic cells in blue and necrotic cells in black.