Skin Grafts and Flaps

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Approval Status

Yes Clearance by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Yes Approval by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) [ 1 ]

About Clearance and Approval


Definition and Causes

A skin graft is a piece of skin transplanted onto a complex wound. A skin flap includes skin plus deeper tissues, sometimes muscle, blood vessels, and bone. Wound care specialists and reconstructive and plastic surgeons commonly perform skin transplants.

Skin grafts and flaps require a healthy, oxygenated wound bed to heal. Success may be compromised by an improperly prepared transplant site, the poor circulatory health of the patient, radiation treatment, or other factors.

Evidence Index

FDA cleared, widely reimbursed
Strong body of evidence
Repeatedly favorable results
Early or mixed results
Unfavorable or no evidence
Strong evidence against HBOT

Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used both to prepare wound sites before transplant and to aid in healing after transplant of skin grafts and flaps. HBOT works by enhancing blood circulation and tissue oxygenation in the wound bed.

[ 1 ] Note: The position of the Oxygen Therapy Committee of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is that HBOT is “…neither necessary nor recommended for the support of normal, uncompromised grafts or flaps.” But in cases where tissue is “…compromised by irradiation or in other cases where there is decreased perfusion [inadequate blood flow] or hypoxia [inadequate blood oxygen]…” hyperbaric oxygen can make an important contribution to saving skin grafts and flaps.

As with other conditions, a qualified physician must evaluate the patient to determine the cause of inadequate circulation in the effected tissue and the appropriate course of treatment.

Read the page Compromised Grafts and Flaps in the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society resource library to learn more about compromised skin grafts and flaps, the rationale for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and treatment protocols, key clinical evidence, and success factors.

Patient Resources

HyperbaricLink recommends the following websites for anyone seeking authoritative information, patient advocacy, and community support for compromised skin grafts and flaps.

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Skin graft
US National Library of Medicine, US National Institutes of Health

The MedlinePlus entry for skin grafts provides an overview of what the skin graft patient should expect before and after the procedure.

Wikipedia: Skin grafting

The Wikipedia page on skin grafting provides an overview of the types of skin grafts and various grafting procedures.

Clinical Resources

Start with the following resources to explore current research activities and the peer-reviewed medical literature on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for carbon monoxide poisoning.

 Use the search buttons below to go directly to research on hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
US National Institutes of Health keeps the official list of human clinical trials currently enrolling, in progress, and recently completed. One may reasonably question the size and legitimacy of any study not listed here.



HBOEvidence uses computerized tools to appraise the key randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the hyperbaric medical literature. One may reasonably question the overall strength of HBOT evidence for any disease or condition not covered here.

Search HBOEvidence
US National Library of Medicine, US National Institutes of Health

PubMed keeps the official list of scientific papers published in reputable peer-reviewed medical journals. One may reasonably question the importance and legitimacy of any study not listed here.



News About Skin Grafts and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society, Indications, Skin Grafts and Flaps. Retrieved 02 May 2015.
Page Data
Updated: 31 Jul 2015 04:55 PM
Created: 13 Jun 2009 12:00 AM
By: About the authors »