Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot ulcer

Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy help with diabetic foot wounds?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot ulcer

A diabetic ulcer is a sore that can happen on the feet or toes of someone with diabetes. If you have one, quite often you might not be aware, because you might not feel the ulcer.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot ulcer

HBOT for diabetic wounds

Studies suggest that between 15% and 25% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in their lives. Among these people, about 6% may end up being hospitalised due to serious complications arising from the ulcer.

“Diabetic ulcers on the feet or toes can vary in severity, and doctors often use something called Wagner grades to describe how bad they are. This grading system helps in understanding the condition of the ulcer and deciding on the best treatment.”
Dr Susannah Sherlock
Medical Director at Wesley Hyperbaric
  • Grade 0: At this level, there’s no open sore but the foot might be at risk because of thick skin or other warning signs.
  • Grade 1: Here, there’s a superficial sore that doesn’t go deep into the foot.
  • Grade 2: The ulcer gets deeper, possibly reaching tendons, bones, or joints.
  • Grade 3: Now, the deep ulcer shows signs of infection or there might be an abscess.
  • Grade 4: This grade involves partial foot gangrene, where some tissue on the foot has died.
  • Grade 5: The most severe level, where the gangrene is so extensive that it might require amputation of the foot or part of the leg.
diabetic foot ulcer

For diabetic foot ulcers that are really serious, like those at Grade 3 where the sore is very deep, infected, or there’s dead tissue, your GP might suggest a special treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT. At Wesley Hyperbaric we accept any grade, because early intervention is better to avoid later complications such as amputation. 

“In HBOT, you go into a special chamber to breathe oxygen that’s under higher pressure than what we’re used to. This helps get more oxygen into your blood, which can help heal the deep sores.”

Dr Susannah Sherlock
Medical Director at Wesley Hyperbaric

In a study from 2018, it was found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy successfully treated about 74.2% of cases involving diabetic foot ulcers. This indicates that HBOT significantly enhances the healing process of foot ulcers when compared to other treatments.

Want to know more about HBOT? 

Hyperbaric chamber for diabetic wounds Brisbane

Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot ulcers covered by Medicare?

In Australia, HBOT is covered by Medicare for any diabetic ulcer grade.

“It does not need to be grade 3 or above before being considered. All diabetic ulcers are considered severe and potentially limb threatening. ” 

Dr Susannah Sherlock
Medical Director at Wesley Hyperbaric

At Wesley Hyperbaric, our Advanced Wound Clinic offers expert management for various wounds, including diabetic but also arterial, venous, post-surgical, pressure, and gangrenous ulcers.

“Our skilled nurses and doctors at the Advanced Wound Clinic have over 20 years of experience in treating complex, hard-to-heal wounds, especially those lacking oxygen, like ulcers from diabetes or previous radiation.”
Aiden Turner
CEO at Wesley Hyperbaric

We work closely with your primary care providers and other health care providers for the best outcome. 

There’s a lot you can do too. It’s really important to keep the area clean, watch your sugar levels, and follow your GP’s advice. Checking your feet every day for any changes or new wounds and wearing the right shoes can help  prevent an ulcer.

HBOT Brisbane

How do I get started?

To start your HBOT treatment, first, get a referral from your GP or specialist and call our hyperbaric clinic located at Wesley Hospital to set up a meeting with our doctors. If HBOT is right for you, we’ll plan out your treatment. After finishing your HBOT sessions, our doctors will check your progress to see how well the treatment worked.