The Robert M. Lombard Hyperbaric Oxygenation Medical Center, Inc.

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Radiation Necrosis


Radiation therapy is an accepted medical intervention for eliminating cancer cells and tumors from tissue. Long-term radiation damage, radionecrosis, may take years after radiation therapy to manifest itself. Radiation injury to bone (osteoradionecrosis) and to soft tissue and organs (e.g. radiation cystitis and radiation proctitis) can have life altering consequences.


Radiation used as treatment for head and neck cancer may damage the blood supply in the area of irradiated bone.  Osteoradionecrosis may develop; open wounds that do not heal properly may occur.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy triggers the healing response to these areas, reducing or eliminating the necrotic consequences caused by the radiation:


  Especially beneficial for high-risk patients, such as irradiated patients requiring tooth extraction


  Allows more oxygen to reach the damaged areas; prevents tissues from dying from poor blood flow


  Boosts immune response to fight infections


  Promotes new bone growth


  Promotes new capillary growth


  Heals open wounds


  Stimulates angiogenesis in marginally viable tissue


In reconstructive surgery involving irradiated tissue, hyperbaric oxygen therapy prior to surgery promotes a well-vascularized wound, enhancing healing and the reconstructive process.


Suggested treatment schedule:


Marx Protocol:  for Osteoradionecrosis prior to dental extraction:


   One daily treatment, five days per week for a total of 20-30 treatments


   Post dental extraction: One daily treatment, five days per week for a total of 10 treatments


For Radiation soft-tissue necrosis:


One daily treatment, five days per week for a total of 20-60 treatments, as individual responses vary.

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