Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Heals Radionecrosis of the Mouth, Head and Neck

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Heals Radionecrosis of the Mouth, Head and Neck

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) often halts ongoing radiation damage to breast tissues, bones, and skin[1] . It is increasingly used as an adjunct to skin grafting in women treated for necrosis of the chest wall after a mastectomy. Additionally, it stimulates angiogenesis in hypoxic tissues, correcting the ischemia which also improves flap and graft salvage[2].

Often the wounds that cause pain, tightness, tenderness and burning after breast cancer radiation treatments resolve on their own in a few months. Those that do not resolve are often responsive to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

Over the last 20 years, we have observed HBOT helping patients with a variety of non-healing wounds on the breast, ribs and chest wall. We have seen resolved infections, resolved pain and skin returned to its’ normal color. We have also seen shoulder and elbow pain reduced or eliminated by resolving lyphedema and salvaged flaps.
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How Hyperbaric Therapy Helps
  • Stimulates angiogenesis of the radiated bed
  • Salvages threatened breast soft tissue reconstruction
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces fibrosis, softens connective fibrous tissue
  • Mobilizes and increases stem cells
  • Effective in wound closure and resolving contraction
  • Corrects ischemia
  • Resolves infection
For more details on how HBOT works, see How it works.
Considering if HBOT is appropriate for your patient?

Talk to us, and we’ll help evaluate if HBOT is right for your patient.

Research on Hyperbaric Therapy

Several studies highlight benefits of HBOT in healing radiation damage to
the chest and breast:

Patients suffering from soft tissue necrosis
8 of 8 cases resolved

Feldmeier et al Retrospective

Patients’ Experiences
8 of 15 cases resolved*

Feldmeier et al Retrospective

Patients with infections, wounds, soft tissue & necrotic flap preservation
8 of 10 cases resolved**

Matos et al Retrospective

Patients suffering from pain in breast after radiation and breast conservation
Pre HBOT 66.7% Post HBOT 14.5%

Teguh et al Prospective

Patients suffering from pain in arms & shoulders after radiation and breast conservation
Pre HBOT 46.4% Post HBOT 16.7%

Teguh et al Prospective

  1. Hyperbaric oxygen as an adjunctive treatment for delayed radiation injury of the chest wall: a retrospective review of 23 cases.

    Since 1979, 23 cases of radiation-induced chest wall necrosis have been treated in the Hyperbaric Medicine Departments of Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital and the Nix Hospital, San Antonio, Texas. Eight cases involved soft tissue only.

  2. Hyperbaric, Delayed Radiation Injury

    There will be 1.2 million cases of invasive cancer diagnosed in the United States this year. Half of those patients will receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment program. Serious radiation complications will occur in 5% of patients receiving radiation therapy.

  3. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a refractory skin ulcer after radical mastectomy and radiation therapy: A case report.

    Radiation therapy is performed as an adjuvant therapy when indicated following surgical resection of malignant tumors. However, radiation exposure induces acute or chronic dermatitis, depending on the radiation dose, interval, tissue volume, or irradiated area of the body.

  4. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the Compromised Graft or Flap

    Tissue grafts and flaps are used to reconstruct wounds from trauma, chronic disease, tumor extirpation, burns, and infection. Despite careful surgical planning and execution, reconstructive failure can occur due to poor wound beds, radiation, random flap necrosis, vascular insufficiency, or ischemia–reperfusion (IR).

  5. Hyperbaric Oxygen following Bilateral Skin-sparing Mastectomies: A Case Report

    We describe a patient in whom bilateral skin flap ischemia developed after nipple-sparing mastectomies. Tissue expander reconstruction was successfully salvaged with HbO therapy. Clinicians should consider the potential benefits and risks of early postoperative HBOT

  6. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for late radiation-induced tissue toxicity: prospectively patient-reported outcome measures in breast cancer patients

    Fifty-seven women were available for evaluation before and after treatment. Before HBOT, patients had severe complaints of pain in the arm/shoulder (46 %), swollen arm/hand (14 %), difficulty to raise arm or move it sideways (45 %)

Patients’ Experiences

Lorraine, 46
Strengthened bones in her jaw and healed open sores
Lorraine was about to lose several teeth, because the bones in her jaw were weakened by radiation from cancer treatments. HBOT strengthened her bones and healed open sores in her mouth that her oral surgeon told her would otherwise not heal. At Bay Area Hyperbarics, we have treated patients for 20 years with radiation damage from treating oral cancers. HBOT has help them return to normal lives. Our patients tell us it also seems to heal their fatigue from “chemo brain” and radiation so they get their energy back. We can help you or your loved one too.
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Fiona, 62
Cured her bone infection, regrew bones and gums, and she regained her previous energy
Fiona, a lively and proud mother of five grown children and an avid gardener, had received radiation many years earlier, which had damaged her bone. It caused a severe infection in the bones in the roof of her mouth. In addition, Fiona was concerned about her low energy levels. She had tried everything, including antibiotics. When she received HBOT along with antibiotics, it cured the bone infection in her mouth. It healed and regrew her bones and gums. Fiona also said that her energy levels had also returned sufficiently that she could again garden, which she said was fundamental to her sense of well-being.
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Howard, 74-year-old patient
Howard, 74
Stabilized teeth, healed his mouth sores and increased weight to a healthy level.
Howard had very painful open sores in his mouth resulting from his cancer treatment. He had already lost a few teeth. What worried his son is that he had lost too much weight. HBOT stabilized two loose teeth and healed his mouth sores, allowing him to return to a healthy weight.
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Laura Jean talking with patient

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We help evaluate if HBOT is appropriate

Our medical team will work with you to evaluate if hyperbaric medicine is appropriate for your patient and covered by insurance.

Start HBOT, if appropriate

If our discussion concludes that HBOT is right for your patient, we can get started on treating them.

We’re woman-owned and the longest running
independent hyperbaric clinic in the country.

We’re woman-owned and the longest running independent hyperbaric clinic in the US.

Nearing 25 Years of Experience

Our highly experienced physicians and technicians have provided almost 100,000 treatments since we opened our doors in 1998.

Pain-free. Non-invasive. Relaxing.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a painless, relaxing and non-invasive treatment. Our patients often tell us they feel relaxed and alert after their treatment.

Certified & Approved

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is approved by the American Medical Association, Medicare, the FDA, the Mayo Clinic, and insurance companies to treat a variety of conditions.

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