If you are planning to undergo gender affirmation surgery, and your surgeon recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy after your surgery, you will likely have many questions about what to expect.
Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy safe?
Any HBOT treatment should be delivered by certified, experienced medical professionals. When under the care of our team at 8th Element Hyperbaric Medicine, your treatment will be both safe and comfortable, with every aspect of your care managed by our skilled, highly trained, compassionate and responsive providers.
How does HBOT make the recovery after gender affirmation surgery faster?
Your body requires oxygen to heal. During a typical recovery, oxygen is delivered to your body from the air you breathe, which has about 21 percent oxygen. With HBOT, your body benefits from inhaling 100% oxygen in a hyperbaric environment, with a treatment room pressure that simulates diving about 40 feet underwater. This unique environment provides up to 18 times the normal oxygen concentration to your body tissues, super-saturating your system with the oxygen it needs to recover while fighting infection and reducing swelling.
After gender affirmation surgery, it is important to understand that your body has gone through significant trauma. Common gender-affirming surgeries involve multiple internal and external incisions, which restrict blood flow, cause swelling, and slow the recovery process, sometimes to the point of serious complications. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, needed oxygen enters all tissues in the body, creating an ancillary delivery system for oxygen to enter the damaged tissues and trigger healthy healing.
How does HBOT lead to better surgical results?
Gender affirmation surgery is invasive, complicated and often extensive. The body reacts to the surgical procedures with bruising, swelling, discomfort, and pain. HBOT elevates oxygen levels in body tissues up to 18-fold, to accelerate the healing process, reduce pain, swelling, and the risk of infection or other complications.
HBOT has the added benefit of triggering an effect in which the collagen (the body’s tissue building block) is deposited in a more organized fashion, allowing the surgical incisions and repair to be more elastic (able to stretch and return to normal length) and tensile (ability to stretch without damage). In doing so, you not only heal faster, but you also heal “better.” Your surgical results are more “functional.”
What is a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session like to experience?
The experience is not painful, but as with pressurization on an airplane, you might feel a brief “popping” sensation in your ears. Once the optimal level of pressurization of the treatment room is reached, you just breathe normally, inhaling pure, healing 100% oxygen while you rest, read, or watch TV. When your treatment is complete, the pressure in the room is slowly reduced, and your ears may “pop” as the pressure returns to normal.
Is HBOT covered by health insurance?
Your HBOT treatments are likely covered by your health insurance policy. Our insurance specialists will work with your insurance carrier to confirm coverage and any applicable deductibles, coinsurance and/or copays.
Are there any side effects associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
HBOT is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment. You may feel pressure in your ears as the treatment pressure increases, and our technician/provider staff is there to help you stay comfortable during that brief phase of the treatment. Potential risks/side-effects are reviewed with every patient prior to therapy.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments you will need will depend upon the extent of your gender affirmation surgery and the degrees to which the flaps/grafts are threatened. HBOT will significantly improve your recovery, with less pain, less risk of infection, and improved surgical results. Your protocol will be entirely custom, designed for you based on your unique needs.
Why choose 8th Element Hyperbaric Medicine for your specialty care?
Our HBOT treatment center was established specifically to support those who are undergoing gender affirmation surgery. The professionals at our clinic are compassionate, understanding, and respectful throughout the entire course of therapy. Our mission is Healing with Respect. Naturally.