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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Reviewed

A literature review conducted by Spiegelberg, et al focused on the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy in the management of radiation-induced in­jury in the head and neck re­gion. A systematic search in PubMed focused on experimental and clinical studies involving the use of HBO therapy in previously irradiated tissue that were conducted from Jan­uary 1990 through June 2009. Radio­ther­apy is used in treating malignant tumors in the head and neck region, and can result in a hypoxic, hypocellular, hy­po­vascular en­vironment which causes injury to surrounding normal tissue. The use of HBO therapy in improving wound healing is based on the principle that delivery of oxygen is an essential process when considering tissue (bone) repair. Al­though HBO therapy is widely applied, its mechanism of action is still poorly understood, and there is controversy over its clinical use. This literature review found that experimental re­search involving HBO therapy is scarce, and there is a lack of randomized controlled clinical trials. The review concludes that more research, both clinical and ex­perimental, is necessary before solid conclusions can be drawn regarding the use of HBO therapy in the management of radiation-induced injury to the head and neck region.
(Source: Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, August 2010, Volume 68, Number 8)

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