Friday, July 4, 2008
Medical Reports: Hyperbaric Healing
For most breast cancer patients reconstructive surgery is a critical part to feeling like themselves again. Now a controversial treatment is helping these patients have successful surgeries. Seven's Richard Lemus has more on this Hyperbaric Healing.
WSVN -- When Belina Rabang felt pain in her left breast two years ago, she never expected it would be cancer.
She underwent a mastectomy, having her breast removed, followed by months of chemotherapy and radiation. Her plan was to have reconstructive surgery when the doctor gave her some more bad news.
Belina Rabang, Breast Cancer Patient: "It would be hard for me to go through reconstruction because of the damage that the radiation had done to my skin and left breast."
That's when plastic surgeon Blane Shatkin at Memorial Hospital Pembroke recommended Belina undergo Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Dr. Blane Shatkin, Memorial Hospital Pembroke: "You go into a chamber, your whole body goes in and you breathe the oxygen, and the pressure kind of moves the oxygen through your body."
The treatment has been used to help wound and burn victims as well as scuba divers with the bends.
Dr. Blane Shatkin: "It kind of compresses the oxygen in the plasma, so it can get out to areas where you might not normally get oxygen to."
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help radiation patients heal faster from surgery by stimulating blood flow to the area. It also decreases infection rates by boosting the immune system.
Belina went into the chamber five days a week for 90 minutes at a time. After 30 sessions, her body was ready for reconstructive surgery.
Belina Rabang: "The breast really healed so well I had no side effects, my skin looked great."
And finally she feels like herself again.
Belina Rabang: "At least I can face the mirror, and I can see there is symmetry in my body."
The good news is most insurance companies cover Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for radiation patients.