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Postoperative Breast Reconstruction: How Can Hyperbarics Help?

More than 100,000 Americans undergo breast reconstruction every year, typically following treatment for breast cancer. 

Reconstruction is an effective and proven way to restore breast shape and improve confidence, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks, particularly during the healing and recovery phase.

At Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic and Hyperbarics in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Badam offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for patients who are recovering from breast reconstruction. 

In this post, Dr. Badam explains why she uses HBOT following breast reconstruction and how it could help you.

Postoperative challenges of breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is associated with high rates of success, but as with any major surgery, there are always risks. Some of those risks occur during the postoperative period, often involving skin grafts or other tissue transferred to rebuild the breast.

During a mastectomy, the surgeon removes breast tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, while preserving the skin itself. Afterward, blood flow to the skin is reduced, which can sometimes lead to problems with healing. 

When skin or transferred tissue don’t receive adequate blood flow, tissue death (necrosis) can occur, leading to the need for additional surgeries or altering the aesthetics of the breasts. These issues can affect the entire flap of tissue, the underlying grafted tissue, or the nipple and areola area. 

An ample supply of oxygen can help prevent tissue death and promote healing. And that’s where HBOT can help.

Benefits of HBOT

Widely used for wound therapy, HBOT floods injured tissues with oxygen, promoting better healing. Oxygen also gives your body the resources it needs to stimulate the growth of new, healthy tissue and blood vessels for better circulation in the future. 

Better still, HBOT is painless and noninvasive.

In addition to promoting healing, HBOT may also help keep bacteria under control. The antibacterial effects of oxygen are well known, and using oxygen to battle infections and prevent necrosis also has a long history

In fact, HBOT has been used for more than a decade to help prevent bacterial infections, including infections associated with tissue death. 

HBOT can be especially helpful for patients who receive radiation in addition to mastectomy. That's because HBOT acts to stimulate tissue repair from radiation damage and even prevent that damage from occurring in the first place. 

Like other medical therapies, we provide HBOT in doses that we administer over several sessions. The number of sessions an individual patient needs can vary. To ensure optimal results, we prescribe therapy on a patient-by-patient basis.

Pure oxygen for better healing

Breast reconstruction offers dramatic benefits for people recovering from breast surgery or trauma. To find out how HBOT can help you recover after your surgery, call us at 210-651-1112 or request an appointment through our online portal today.

Author
Dr. Manjulatha Badam

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