Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Ms. Debbie Dias is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 at the age of 44. She has a long period of chemotherapy, Debbie Dias is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 at the age of 44. She has a long period of chemotherapy, breast cancer surgery, first-stage breast reconstruction, and radiation therapy. She was extremely brave during a challenging, emotionally loaded time. Our lovely lady recently decided to continue her reconstructive process as a breast cancer survivor.
In order to facilitate second-stage breast reconstruction, we used hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Riedwaan Dass, at Milpark Hyperbaric Medicine Centre, always ensures that patients receive prompt treatment and guides patients during the crucial period before and after surgery where the greatest benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy is found.
Clinical studies have shown the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the pre- and post-operative periods in breast surgery patients. In breast surgery, skin- and nipple- sparing mastectomies have revolutionized the cosmetic appearance post-cancer surgery. Maintaining blood supply post-skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy remains a significant reconstructive challenge.
Once the inside of the breast has been removed in the mastectomy operation, the breast skin has a thin layer of tiny blood vessels that keeps the outside breast envelope alive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the red blood cells within these tiny blood vessels. By maintaining the breast shape, we, as reconstructive surgeons, are able to obtain a far better reconstruction.
Radiation therapy has shown to significantly prolong life expectancy in breast cancer patients. Unfortunately, radiation therapy often causes tight contracted skin and hard lumps in fatty tissue making subsequent reconstruction difficult. We have found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy not only softens the radiated skin but also decreases the size of the fatty lumps. Once again, it is on the basis of the hyperoxygenation that the tissue quality improves much like a sprinkler system for your garden.
Studies have shown the beneficial effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to be at various levels in the process of wound healing. It increases the efficacy of white blood cells, kills bacteria, inhibits bacterial toxin formation, reduces swelling, maintains tissue oxygenation in the absence of adequate blood supply, stimulates fibroblast growth, increases collagen formation, promotes rapid growth of blood vessels, and terminates lipid peroxidation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps to preserve ischemic tissue and has a role in radionecrosis.
The unique availability of a hyperbaric unit has enabled us to investigate the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in three main areas:
Maintaining nipple viability in nipple-sparing mastectomies.
Maintaining skin flap viability inskin-sparing mastectomies
Improving cosmetic appearance and symptoms associated with radio necrosis
We evaluated our findings in a clinical control trial utilizing 60 breast cancer patients that have had hyperbaric oxygen therapy post-cancer surgery as the intervention arm of the study. A historical control arm was used for comparison. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to compare the study findings. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has statistical value in maintaining tissue viability post-surgery. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces the rate of liponecrosis associated with radiation therapy. Ms. Dias was one of the patients used in our study. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has helped us to obtain a far better reconstruction, enabling Ms. Dias to feel feminine, restore her self-confidence, and return to her activities of daily function.