With so many cosmetic surgical procedures available, from breast reductions to tummy tucks, aftercare instructions vary, depending on the focus area and healing process. There are several standard recovery recommendations that most, if not all, patients should follow. These include keeping the surgical wound covered, refraining from exercise, and receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is beneficial for cosmetic surgery aftercare because it’s shown to aid in the recovery process by helping surgical wounds heal properly, reducing inflammation and preventing infections.
Oxygen is critical to survival—enabling our bodies to generate energy from the food we eat. This is defined as cellular respiration, “because the cell seems to ‘respire’ in a way that it takes in molecular oxygen (as an electron acceptor) and releases carbon dioxide (as an end product),” states online resource Biology-Online.org.
HBOT is a non-invasive, medical treatment that doesn’t require the use of prescription drugs. Instead, it employs the help of pure oxygen to assist patients with a variety of conditions, including crush injury, thermal burns, decompression sickness and non-healing wounds. As discussed on both the Northport Wellness Center website and the Hyperbaric Medical Solutions website, the air we breathe tends to contain only about 19 to 21 percent of oxygen. HBOT exposes patients—in a controlled environment—to oxygen at an increased pressure, which can increase the amount dissolved in the bloodstream by more than 1200 percent.
Research indicates cosmetic surgery patients who receive HBOT can also accelerate their recovery times.
There are even some instances in which patients choose to undergo HBOT before and after surgery, due to its significant benefits.
The peer-reviewed JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association shared a 2010 study in which the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on facelift patients were examined. Titled “Effect of Perioperative Hyperbaric Oxygen on Bruising in Face-lifts,” the study involved 13 facelift patients in total, all female, and between the ages of 47 and 71. Of those 13, six received HBOT.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers patients an additional option for quicker recovery in face-lift surgery and potentially other cosmetic procedures," concluded the study.
“The treatment group received 5 perioperative HBO treatments at 2 atmospheres for 60 minutes administered on the 2 days prior to surgery and then again on PODs,” or postoperative days, “3, 4, and 5,” it explains. The participants, 11 of whom underwent a deep plane facelift and two of whom underwent an extended superficial musculoaponeurotic system facelift, reported seeing positive results.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers patients an additional option for quicker recovery in face-lift surgery and potentially other cosmetic procedures," concluded the study. "It should be included in the discussion with patients with limited available recovery time as an option for faster resolution of postoperative ecchymosis.”
Analyses into the benefits of HBOT on patients after any kind of surgery—not just cosmetic or plastic—have been conducted for years. The aforementioned study echoes the notion that HBOT helps those with surgical and traumatic wounds.
A 1994 study shared by the U.S. National Library of Medicine involved evaluating the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on the ears of hairless mice with wounds.
“Animals were treated within 2 hours of wound creation and then twice daily with 100% oxygen at 2 atmospheres of absolute pressure,” it states, concluding that “hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves reepithelialization in normal and ischemic skin tissue,” which means HBOT appeared to contribute to the wound-healing process in the mice.
The Northport Wellness Center works closely with Dr. David Pincus, a cosmetic surgeon based in New York. Contact Dr. Pincus today to learn more about his services.