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New Hyperbaric Medicine Center could help heal wounds caused by diabetes and other illnesses

If you are suffering from diabetes or poor circulation, you may have a wound that just won’t heal. The longer it takes for that wound to heal, the more at risk you are for developing infections, tissue injury or even limb loss.

Scott & White now offers something called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) at the Scott & White Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center that could help.

“It is a treatment that involves breathing 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized environment,” said Robert Plemmons, MD, FACP, medical director of the clinic located at 2601 Thornton Lane in Temple.

The 5,000 square foot facility, which just opened in October of 2011, offers treatment for non-healing wounds of all kinds including wounds associated with autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.

The most commonly treated conditions are diabetic foot wounds, delayed radiation injury, crush injury, compromised surgical grafts and flaps, soft tissue infections and refractory osteomyelitis (bone infection).

How does HBOT work?

Normally, oxygen in the blood is carried to body tissue by red blood cells only. But HBOT allows inhaled oxygen to be carried through not only red blood cells, but also by blood plasma, stimulating blood vessel growth in areas deprived of oxygen.

The patient undergoing the treatment is placed in a monoplace (single patient) hyperbaric chamber. It is completely transparent so the patient has a clear view of his or her surroundings and the hyperbaric technician.

During the procedure, which usually takes around 90 minutes, the patient has the option of watching live TV or movies on a flat screen TV or listening to music.

What are the risks of the therapy?

“Risks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy include ear and sinus pain (similar to that experienced with a change in cabin pressure in an airplane), low blood sugar, nearsightedness, and claustrophobia,” Dr. Plemmons said.

These risks are all anticipated and preventative measures are taken to minimize the chance of their occurrence.

What are the benefits of having this type of therapy?

Patients who have success with HBOT have increased healing in diabetic lower extremity wounds, skin graft or flap preservation after plastic surgery or amputation and healing after radiation injury or bone infection.

“I have seen amazing results when HBOT was used for diabetic foot infections and radiation injury after all other treatments had failed,” Dr. Plemmons said.

For more information about the Scott & White Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center and how their team can help you, ask your primary care physician for a referral or call 254-724-6622.

About the author

Jessa McClure
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Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.

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New Hyperbaric Medicine Center could help heal wounds caused by diabetes and other illnesses