Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for radiation injuries is one of the thirteen indications cleared by the FDA. It has proven to be a very safe and successful therapy to heal radiation wounds. In Detroit News Dr. Roach dives into HBOT for radiation wounds.
Dear Dr. Roach: How effective is hyperbaric oxygen therapy in treating a radiation wound on one’s foot? I’m a 67-year-old male with high blood pressure that is currently under control. I had radiation treatment for plantar warts last summer. Nine out of 10 have been eradicated. One turned into a wound that never healed until I started to see a podiatrist at a wound care center. It seems to be helping, but it’s taking a long time to heal.
Dear K.L.: Radiation can sometimes lead to chronic, non-healing wounds. I am very surprised about the use of radiation treatment for plantar warts. There are many treatments that are safer than radiation, which was at a dose where you have developed this serious complication. However, since you have this complication, the treatment for it definitely requires special expertise. Wound care experts typically include plastic surgeons and wound care nurses.
Standard treatment for wounds can be augmented with the use of hyperbaric oxygen (”hyperbaric” means at a high pressure). In practice, this involves a pressure chamber with pure oxygen, allowing the oxygen to come into direct contact with the wound at very high concentrations. This has many effects both systemically and at the site of the wound. While the exact mechanism for its effectiveness isn’t known, real-world data have shown its effectiveness, even if high-quality trials have not had consistent results.
Uncontrolled studies have shown that 75% of radiation-induced wounds can be healed by hyperbaric oxygen, but it may take months to do so. A longstanding wound tends to be harder to heal and requires more time. I do want to emphasize that hyperbaric oxygen is used in addition to the best practices of wound care.
Cited from Detriot News