Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center
To Make an Appointment
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for information on consultations or referrals.
For most people, wound healing is a natural, uneventful process. For some, it can become a complex medical problem requiring specialized medical treatment.
If you suffer with a hard-to-heal wound such as pressure ulcers (sores), diabetic foot ulcers, surgical wounds, wounds caused by infections, traumatic wounds, and wounds due to circulatory problems, Billings Clinic's Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center may be able to help.
Our wound care specialists provide a comprehensive approach for the management of complex wound healing. Each patient receives an individualized plan of care to help heal these complicated wounds. The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center treats both adult and pediatric patients.
Wound Care Specialists
Our team of specialists have advanced training in both wound and burn care management. Our team of specialists includes:
- An infectious disease physician team
- Three podiatrists
- Two cardiovascular surgeons
- Two nurse practitioners
- Three cardiovascular physician assistants
- Wound care and hyperbaric therapy nurses, technicians and medical assistants who are specialty trained in the care of chronic wounds
- In addition, your primary care physician is an integral part of the wound and hyperbaric medicine team and will be communicated with regularly during your treatment.
Wounds We Treat
- All non-healing problem wounds for both adult and pediatric patients
- Arterial insufficiency ulcers
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Fungating cancerous lesions - lesions with breaks on the skin or surface of an organ
- Post-traumatic wounds
- Pressure ulcers (sores)
- Post-operative wound complications
- Radiation exposure wounds
- Rare dermatological cases such as pyoderma gangrenosum, calciphylaxis
- Surgical wounds
- Traumatic wounds
- Venous stasis ulcers and arterial ulcers
- Wounds caused by infections
- Wounds due to circulatory problems
- First and second degree burns and follow-up post hospitalization for outpatient burn care
Types of Treatment
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
One of Two Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) accelerates the body's natural healing process by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Treatment takes place in a sealed chamber where oxygen and pressure are steadily increased.
Body tissue needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in order to function properly. Tissue that is injured requires even more oxygen in order to heal. Many difficult-to-heal wounds are deprived of oxygen (hypoxic). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy speeds up the healing process by delivering oxygen to these injured areas.
Indications for Outpatient Treatment
Wound healing rates are directly related to level of oxygenation reaching the tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used to aid in healing wounds for over 40 years. Indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- Necrotizing Soft Tissues Injuries
- Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities in patient who meet criteria
- Crush injuries & suturing of severed limbs
- Compromised Skin Grafts and Flaps
- Chronic, Refractory Osteomyelitis
- Osteoradionecrosis/Radiation Tissues Damage
- Soft tissue radionecrosis
- Idiopathic Sudden Sensory Hearing Loss
- Other Chronic Ulcers/Chronic Non-healing Wounds
Radiation Tissue Damage
Often normally healthy tissue is damaged during radiation therapy for cancer. One of the mechanisms with which radiation destroys cancer involves destruction of the arteries providing blood to the tumor. It also may destroy the arteries in the otherwise healthy tissue around the tumor including intact skin. The damage is referred to as delayed radiation tissue damage since the damage may not be apparent for 6 months or longer after the radiation exposure. Damage may manifest itself in many forms depending on the area of the body irradiated such as radiation proctitis, radiation cystitis, Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw, radiation esophagitis, etc. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is evidence based to help restore the damaged microcirculation in the radiation damage tissue.
Patients will meet with a trained hyperbaric medicine provider for a face-to-face consult and if found medically appropriate to receive treatment, a preauthorization will be sent to the patient’s insurance prior to starting.
Preparing for Treatment
Our hyperbaric medicine team will review the following information in detail with you to ensure that you're properly prepared for each treatment session. We provide hyperbaric treatment options for both adult and pediatric patients.
Products and Medications to Avoid
Substances like caffeine and tobacco shrink blood vessels and restrict the amount of blood that can be delivered to your tissue. Thus, during your treatment we recommend that you avoid caffeine and tobacco.
Some medications can affect the way your body responds to oxygen. Before receiving hyperbaric treatment it's important that you discuss any and all medications you are taking.
For your Safety
We restrict certain items from entering the chamber. These include:
- all metal objects such as jewelry
- matches and lighters
- vaseline or any other petroleum-based products
- personal electronic devices
Most skin care products are petroleum based, so please check with the hyperbaric staff before using any lotion or other product prior to treatment.
You will given a hospital gown to wear during your treatment to reduce the potential for static electricity.
The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center team also provides referral resources for physical therapy to assist with lymphedema and venous insufficiency as well as referral resources for vascular wounds.