USES FOR HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
HBOT is effective in a large number of conditions because it works on the level of inflammation and other destructive processes that underlie numerous diseases. The FDA regulates HBOT in exactly the same way it regulates medications. The FDA will approve a particular condition for treatment with a medication, or with HBOT, only when they are presented with rigorous controlled trials supporting its use. However, these types of studies are extremely expensive, and they tend to be performed only for illnesses and medications in which there is the potential for large profits.
The FDA recognizes that doctors in practice discover many uses for numerous medications that have not been rigorously tested, and states explicitly that physicians may use any medication for any condition that they believe is appropriate, based on what research is available, and based on clinical experience. This use of medications for conditions that are not FDA approved is known as "off-label" uses. More than half the prescriptions written in the United States are for these "off-label" uses.
The same rules govern the use of HBOT, so we are able to offer HBOT for conditions that are not FDA-approved. However, insurance companies feel free to deny payment for off-label uses of HBOT, just as they routinely deny payment for even widely accepted off-label uses of common medications.
The following indications are approved by the FDA for treatment with HBOT, and in principle can be expected to be covered by insurance.
Air or Gas Embolism
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Compartment Syndrome/Crush Injury/Other Traumatic Ischemias
Decompression Sickness (Bends)
Diabetic and Selected Wounds
Exceptional Blood Loss (Anemia)
Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection
Osteoradionecrosis and Radiation Tissue Damage
Skin Grafts and (Compromised) Flaps
The conditions listed below are not approved by the FDA for treatment with HBOT, although there is adequate research and clinical experience indicating that HBOT is effective in these conditions.
Recovery from Plastic Surgery
Traumatic Brain Injury
...and many more