Polk physician Lassiter offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Published 11:14 am Monday, September 3, 2012

Right: Dr. Lonnie Lassiter, supervising physician at Rutherford Wound Care & Hyperbarics, oversees a patient undergoing a hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. (photo submitted by Allison Flynn)

Dr. Lonnie Lassiter of Polk County began offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy on Aug. 6 at Rutherford Wound Care & Hyperbarics. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment in which the entire body is under increased atmospheric pressure and the patient breathes 100-percent oxygen.
“The idea behind hyperbarics is that it pushes oxygen to the wound bed and helps with healing,” said Lassiter, supervising physician of the center. Rutherford Regional Health System opened the new wound care center this spring.
Other benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are that it decreases bacterial formation, enhances cell growth and stimulatesa capillary development, Lassiter said.
According to Lassiter, hyperbaric medicine has been around since the 1800s. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including carbon monoxide poisoning, although its use at Rutherford Wound Care & Hyperbarics is only for the treatment of wounds.
“Medicare has done extensive research on hyperbaric therapy that’s based in science, and we only do Medicare-approved treatments in our center,” Lassiter said. “After the 10,000 treatments I’ve overseen, it clearly works.”
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered in a pressurized chamber, an acrylic cylinder where the patient can watch television, listen to the radio or sleep. During treatment, oxygen in the chamber is increased until the pressure reaches the equivalent of 70 feet of sea water, Lassiter said.
“That’s why we refer to treatments as ‘dives,’” he explained. “We are referring to the pressure in the chamber. Patients should feel nothing except the need to clear their ears. It’s a very benign experience.”
Patients can communicate with staff through a telephone. Those with claustrophobia or anxiety can take a sedative prior to treatment. Each treatment takes around 90 minutes, Lassiter said.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may not be needed for all wounds; it has been indicated for use in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, bone infections and radiation injuries.
A doctor’s referral is not needed to be seen at Rutherford Wound Care & Hyperbarics. For more information or for an appointment, call 828-351-6000 or visit MyRutherfordRegional.com/WoundCare.
– article submitted
by Allison Flynn

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