Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an effective adjunct to antibiotics and surgery, the traditional treatments for
osteomyelitis. When the bacteria involved are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments, hyperbaric oxygen
kills them and stops them from replicating, spreading, and releasing damaging toxins. HBOT may also improve circulation,
boost the effect of antibiotics, deliver infection-fighting blood components to the infection site, and accelerate bone
growth and healing.
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Note: The UHMS approval for treatment of osteomyelitis with hyperbaric oxygen therapy applies specifically
to refractory osteomyelitis. Refractory means “resistant to treatment”. Clinicians may utilize
other treatments, such as antibiotics, for a period of time before assessing an infection as refractory. Hyperbaric oxygen is
administered as an adjunct to antibiotics and other therapies. A qualified physician should make the recommendation to treat
a bone infection with HBOT.
UHMS guidelines recommend daily treatments of 90-120 minutes at 2.0-3.0 atmospheres of absolute pressure (ATA), starting soon
after surgical debridement and continuing 4 to 6 weeks.
Read the page
in the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society resource library to learn more about persistent or recurring bone
infections, the rationale for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and treatment protocols, key clinical evidence, and success factors.
Hyperbaric oxygen can be a potent bactericide and also treats the hypoxia at the root of osteomyelitis and surrounding
soft tissue necrosis. Osteomyelitis, like necrotizing infections, involves some rather frightening germs. As antibiotics
and other traditional weapons against these worrisome microscopic invaders begin to weaken, hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides
a vital backstop.