Beth Israsel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth


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Commonly Asked Questions About Chronic and Complex Wounds

Recognizing various types of wounds

Arterial Ulcers
Arterial ulcers are wounds that develop as a result of decreased circulation. They usually occur on the tips of toes (or in between toes), on heels or outer ankle regions. Occasionally, they may be present on other parts of the body.

Diabetic or Neuropathic Ulcers
Diabetic ulcers (also known as neuropathic ulcers) are wounds resulting from a combination of nerve damage, pressure and decreased blood flow. The most common location is on the soles of the feet where weight is borne.

Pressure Ulcers (e.g. bed sores)
Pressure ulcers (more commonly known as “bed sores”) are lesions which occur in areas of the body that have experienced prolonged periods of contact or pressure between soft tissue and bony prominences. Left untreated, pressure ulcers can become life-threatening.

Venous Stasis Ulcers
A venous stasis ulcer occurs when problems in the veins of the lower leg prevent blood from being effectively pumped back to the heart. The blood pools in the lower leg, causing swelling, tissue damage and eventually, an open-sore wound. The condition may be a result of valve dysfunction, blockage, backward blood flow or failure of the calf muscles to pump.

What is a hyperbaric chamber?
A hyperbaric chamber is a large compartment, usually made of acrylic and aluminum, designed to withstand a large increase in internal pressure. The chamber is big enough for patients to lie down and it is equipped with a large clear acrylic tube so that staff may monitor patients during treatment sessions. In addition, patients and staff are able to communicate via an intercom system while the patient is receiving treatment.

How does it assist in the wound-healing process?
Breathing pure oxygen under pressure causes much more oxygen than usual to be dissolved in the blood and, subsequently, the rest of the body. The extra oxygen can improve wound healing by reducing swelling, keeping infection under control and stimulating new blood vessel growth.

Are there any side effects?
Side effects are uncommon but may include discomfort in the ear and/or discomfort or pressure injuries to the lungs. Some patients may also experience visual changes causing nearsightedness (myopia); this is usually temporary and disappears within one or two months of finishing therapy.

What is it like inside the chamber?
The first few minutes in the chamber will be noisy due to pressurized gas entering it. It will seem warm at first and then the temperature will adjust to a comfortable level. Patients will feel a change in pressure in their ears, similar to when descending in an airplane.

Wound Center &
Hyperbaric Medicine

275 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
(508) 746-2000

Wound Center &
Hyperbaric Center hours
of operation & appointments:

Normal administrative
hours are 8 AM to 5 PM,
Monday through Friday.

To schedule an
appointment, call (508)


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