Therapeutic therapy uses oxygen to heal diabetic wounds - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Therapeutic therapy uses oxygen to heal diabetic wounds

By Roslyn Giles

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Diabetics are seeing their wounds heal faster than normal using a therapeutic treatment known as Hyperbaric Oxygenation.  St. Francis Hospital's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center has been offering the treatment for three years with positive results.  

Hyperbarics is a non-invasive, prescribed type of therapy and delivers 100% oxygen to the patient.  Pure oxygen is administered to the patient using a chamber that fully covers the body. 

Riley Maxwell, a disabled veteran and diabetic patient, is going through the regiment. He visits the center 5 days a week and stays inside the chamber for 90 minutes each time.   "It's almost like getting into an airplane, ears popping, keep swallowing, keep clearing your throat or keep your ears open enough to where you get to the level you want and it feels like normal, " described Maxwell.

Six months ago, Maxwell injured his right foot when he stepped on a nail.  The puncture progressed into an infection and he eventually underwent a surgical procedure and now hyperbaric therapy.  Maxwell also suffers from Neuropathy which causes numbness in his feet.  Doctors say this nervous system disorder makes it very easy for diabetics to overlook a wound.  However, Maxwell caught the infection in time.

Dr. Troy Espiritu said Maxwell's wound is healing quite well through Hyperbaric Oxygenation.  "It's a huge adjunct. The one thing the body needs is to have is oxygen to the wound. Well, we can increase the amount of oxygen getting to a wound dramatically by putting them in the chamber," added Espiritu.

One problem associated with the process deals with people with sinuses and congestive heart failure. "You have to equilibrate the pressure in the inner ear as you go down that can be a problem, sometimes we have to put tubes in the ear said, Dr. Tommy Lawhorne.

The treatment can also be used for other conditions such as failing skin grafts, flaps, bone infections and radiation wounds.  Maxwell said he's grateful for the treatment as it prevents amputations in some cases and extends life in diabetic patients.

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