Understanding hyperbaric oxygen therapy and its use in the treatment of compromised skin grafts and flaps

Plast Surg Nurs. Apr-Jun 2005;25(2):72-80; quiz 81-2. doi: 10.1097/00006527-200504000-00006.


Nonhealing wounds represent a problem involving inadequate oxygenation of the tissues that can lead to hypoxic injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used as an adjunctive therapy for compromised grafts and flaps that have failed to show improvement with standard wound therapy and offer additional physiologic benefits in the reversal of wound hypoxia and hypoperfusion. A literature review confirms the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in nonhealing wounds and compromised skin grafts and flaps. The purpose of this article is to review the role of oxygen and physiological effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in wound healing and to provide an overview of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy experience including indications, types of chambers, patient preparation, complications, and treatment protocols. This article is intended to provide nurses working in plastic surgery the information necessary to consider the benefits that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can offer to improve the healing potential of patients with compromised skin grafts and flaps.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / adverse effects
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / methods*
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / nursing
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Safety Management
  • Skin Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Skin Transplantation* / nursing
  • Surgical Flaps* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing