lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2008


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Heals Burns Faster With Less Scars

Serious burns which can be caused by chemical and electricity as well as by fire, can be among the most painful of injuries, and among the most difficult to treat. There are burn victims who don't need skin transplants but who do need medical assistance. Long term physical and emotional disabilities occur when burns go on to heal leaving tissue scars. HBOT can help burn patients heal faster with fewer complications and less scarring.

Peak damage occurs within 3-4 days after the initial burn and can be up to 10 times worse than the initial burn injury. These injuries can result in life long difficulties, physical limitation, and significant disfigurement as the body heals from the injury.

Adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to limit the progression of the burn injury, reduce swelling, may reduce the need for surgical intervention, diminish lung damage and shorten the time of hospitalization. When burn victims are not hospitalized with non life threatening burns, HBOT can be carried out at private facilities when first or second degree burns are involved.

In order for a burn to heal properly, it is very important for the burned area to develop new tissue cover quickly. Viable cells from healthy areas migrate into the wound and start to reproduce given the appropriate conditions with help from HBOT. Oxygen is very important to wound healing. When the environment of the fibroblast has an oxygen tension of less than 10mmHg, the cell can divide, but it can no longer synthesize collagen. It cannot migrate to where it is needed for healing. When the oxygen tension is increased, the fibroblast can again carry out these wound healing function. The collagen produced by these cells for a protective fibrous matrix and new capillaries grow into this matrix. Wound healing is a dynamic process and an adequate oxygen tension is mandatory for this process to proceed successfully.

HBOT inhibits wound infection by helping to support the body's infection fighting white blood cells and by helping to increase the effectiveness of any antibiotics that are used when an infection occurs. HBOT aids the survival of skin grafts and flaps when it is necessary to use them in more severe burns. (See compromised grafts and flaps)

HBOT is a useful part of an overall treatment program for burns, whether the burn is serious or not. Prevention of scarring especially facial scarring may be cosmetic in some cases but victims need not carry the physical scar as well as the emotional scar burns leave with them.

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