What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy typically is performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require hospitalization. If you're already hospitalized and require hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you'll remain in the hospital during a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session. Alternately, you may be transported to and from the hospital to a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session if the procedure is performed at an outside facility.

Depending on the type of medical institution you go to and the reason you require treatment, you may receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy in one of two settings:

  • A unit designed for one person. In an individual (monoplace) unit, you lie down on a padded table that slides into a clear plastic tube about 7 feet long.
  • A room designed to accommodate several people. In a multiperson hyperbaric oxygen room — which usually looks like a hospital waiting room inside — you may sit or lie down. A lightweight, clear hood may be placed over your head to deliver the oxygen to you, or you may wear a mask over your face to receive the oxygen.

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the air pressure in the room is approximately two to three times normal air pressure. The increased air pressure will create a temporary feeling of fullness in your ears — similar to what you might feel in an airplane or at a high elevation — that can be relieved by yawning.

A therapy session may last from one to two hours. Members of your health care team monitor you and the therapy unit throughout your treatment.

After hyperbaric oxygen therapy

You may feel lightheaded following your treatment. Typically, this feeling goes away within a few minutes and doesn't limit normal activities.

Oct. 27, 2011