Can HBOT help fight Osteoradionecrosis

Can HBOT help fight Osteoradionecrosis

Can HBOT help fight Osteoradionecrosis?

Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is a serious and progressive disease that can occur following radiation treatment for certain types of cancer. It disrupts the normal process of bone and tissue repair, causing the surrounding tissues to die off due to an inability to heal. For patients facing ORN, time can be essential in preserving remaining bone structure and function.

In recent years, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has become an increasingly viable option for improving outcomes in cases of ORN. This article will explore how HBOT works, its effectiveness at treating ORN as well as what additional resources may be available.

What is Osteoradionecrosis?

Osteoradionecrosis is a condition that occurs when soft tissue, usually bone and gum tissue, becomes damaged as a result of radiation therapy. This can be prevented through careful planning with your radiation oncologist before you start treatment. It is important to follow all instructions given by your doctor to minimize the risk of developing this complication.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. During treatment for head and neck cancers, it is common to receive doses of radiation that go deep into the area where cancer has developed.

What are the Causes of Osteoradionecrosis?

In general, osteoradionecrosis is caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • -Radiation damage to blood vessels in the affected area
  • -Reduced blood supply to the affected tissue due to inflammation or infection
  • -Structural weaknesses of the bone that may have been present before treatment began and were not detected before radiation therapy.
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The specific factors that contribute to osteoradionecrosis vary from case to case and depend on the location of the affected tissue and bone, as well as the types and doses of radiation therapy that were used. Some patients may be more likely to develop osteoradionecrosis due to pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or gum disease, which can weaken bones and increase the risk of infection.

As a chronic condition, osteoradionecrosis usually develops gradually over time. Common symptoms include pain in the affected area, especially when chewing or applying pressure; increased sensitivity to cold temperatures; difficulty healing wounds (such as those caused by tooth extractions); and a foul smell coming from oral cavities that are not draining properly. If you experience any of these symptoms after receiving radiation treatment for cancer in your neck or head, it is important to consult a physician or dentist immediately, as prompt treatment is often crucial for preventing long-term complications and helping the condition improve.

Can HBOT help fight Osteoradionecrosis

How can HBOT help Against Osteoradionecrosis?

It Promotes Collagen Production in the Body

The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is highly beneficial in the treatment of osteoradionecrosis, or ON. This condition arises when an area of bone is exposed to radiation, often as a result of cancer treatments. As the radiation kills cells in the surrounding tissue, it can leave areas of dead bone that pose a risk for infection.

Hyperbaric oxygen chambers has been shown to promote collagen production in the affected areas. This growth of new tissue helps to fill in these dead spaces and protect against infection, which ultimately speeds healing and reduces symptoms. In addition, HBOT chambers can be used as an adjunct therapy with other treatments that are commonly used for osteoradionecrosis, such as surgery, hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments, and antibiotic therapy.

By Forming New Blood Vessels:

Osteoradionecrosis is a complication of radiation therapy that affects the jaw bone. It can lead to pain, bone loss, and difficulty with chewing. While there are medications that can be prescribed to help manage the symptoms, they do not reverse the condition or prevent further complications.

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By forming new blood vessels and delivering more oxygen to injured areas within the bone, HBOT can help reduce pain, prevent further bone loss, and restore function.

While there is limited research on the effectiveness of HBOT in treating osteoradionecrosis, many patients and healthcare providers have reported positive results. One of the main benefits is that it can be a non-invasive treatment that can help address an underlying condition without requiring surgery or medication.

It Improves Bone Formation:

HBOT helps treat osteoradionecrosis by increasing levels of oxygen within damaged tissues, which promotes increased cell production and activity. By stimulating this regenerative process, HBOT facilitates the growth of new, healthy bone tissue to replace damaged and necrotic cells. This is particularly beneficial in cases of osteoradionecrosis, as it can help prevent further damage and improve the overall quality of life for patients affected by this condition.

While there are some potential side effects associated with HBOT, such as oxygen toxicity or barotrauma (a disorder involving changes in pressure affecting body tissues), these typically manifest during or immediately following treatment and can be easily managed.

HBOT Manages Pain

It’s believed that HBOT chambers works by decreasing inflammation and improving blood flow to the damaged area following radiation therapy. While there is limited research studying its use for pain caused by osteoradionecrosis, some studies have shown that HBOT is effective at controlling pain and improving quality of life.

Some Other common Treatments for Osteoradionecrosis:

The treatment of osteoradionecrosis is similar to the treatment for other forms of non-healing bone infections, such as Osteomyelitis.

Treatment begins with the removal of necrotic bone. This allows access for antibiotics to reach the bone and may make the infection amenable to treatment without surgery (called medical or non-surgical debridement). At times, surgical debridement is necessary. It is difficult to treat osteoradionecrosis without patient cooperation because treatment requires a long course of therapies that are tedious and painful.

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Multiple courses of antibiotics may be required to achieve success, which usually takes at least six months. In addition, corticosteroids may need to be used in some patients for their anti-inflammatory effects on healing tissues around infected bones.

If you are living with osteoradionecrosis or think you might be at risk, speak to your doctor about the potential of HBOT therapy. Depending on the severity of your medical case and other underlying health factors, HBOT may or may not be the best option for you. However, it is worth considering as an alternative treatment to manage pain and promote healing in cases of osteoradionecrosis.