Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO), that is the administration of 100% oxygen delivered under pressure, has a beneficial effect in several surgical conditions. Its use has been assessed and audited and its pharmacological effects demonstrated. It is appropriate for use in several acute surgical conditions as evidence-based therapy. These are:
Crush Injuries, Compartment Syndromes & Acute Traumatic Ischaemias
Enhancement of Healing in Selected Problem Wounds
Exceptional Bloodloss Anaemia
Necrotising Soft Tissue Infections
Compromised Skin Grafts & Flaps
HBO therapy suffers from previous inappropriate use, lack of knowledge, and scarce hyperbaric facilities. Hyperbaric therapy, when properly supervised by a physician trained in its use, working closely with a surgeon, and ethically used for appropriate indications, can be a useful adjunct to surgical practice. Military surgeons may be in a situation in which they can utilize HBO in acute surgical conditions and trauma. They are urged to identify HBO facilities, both fixed and portable, and to establish communication with hyperbaric therapy colleagues.
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