Riverview Regional Medical Center has completed an expansion and upgrades to its Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Center. The move replaces the Center’s original hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) chambers with new state-of-the-art units and adds a third, making a total of three available for treatment.

“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the leading-edge treatment for difficult wounds, and we are very happy to put these new units into service at the Center,” said Charles L. Newman, M.D., FACC, Medical Director of the Riverview Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. “The new chambers are larger than the previous ones, and adding a third chamber means we can both treat more patients and decrease time spent on the waiting list.”

For some patients, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an effective treatment to supplement other treatment methods for wounds that do not heal well. During the treatments, patients breathe 100 percent oxygen, which increases the presence of oxygen within the wound and aids in the healing and growth of new tissue. Air found normally in the environment contains only 21 percent oxygen.

While in the chamber, patients may listen to music, watch TV, or even take a nap. Some patients may experience a sensation of fullness in the ears during certain parts of the treatment, similar to when driving up or down a mountain. This is caused by the response of the eardrums to changes in pressure within the chamber. The Center staff teaches several easy methods of avoiding ear discomfort before treatment.

Treatment schedules are customized for each patient and may require 20 to 30 treatments for maximum benefit. Outpatients are normally treated once a day, five or six days a week.

While any wound that doesn’t heal on its own in thirty days should be examined by a specialist, the three most common chronic non-healing wounds treated with HBO therapy include pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg wounds or ulcers, and ulcers resulting from arterial disease.

Pressure ulcers occur when soft tissue is pressed between a bony area and another surface for a long time. Because diabetes affects many body systems, persons with the disease may be more likely to experience foot infections and wounds. Venous disease is the most common of diseases that can cause ulcers on the lower parts of the legs. The arterial disease can also cause lower-leg ulcers which are hard to heal because of reduced blood flow to the wound.

HBO therapy is also used in the treatment of the negative effects of radiation, including damage to the jaw in former cancer patients (osteoradionecrosis), and bone infections (osteomyelitis).

In addition to Dr. Charles Newman, the Center’s highly experienced medical staff includes Lucian Newman, Jr., MD, a specialist in General, Vascular Surgery, and Wound Care, and former Chief of Staff at Riverview Regional, Steven Bayer, MD, Wound Care Specialist, and General Surgeon William Beekley, MD. All nurses at the Center are trained and certified in wound care and HBO therapy accredited by the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society.

Referrals are not required for treatment at the Center and treatment is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The Center is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Riverview Regional’s wound care specialists offer state-of-the-art care, from diagnosis to state-of-the-art technology, treatments, education, and rehabilitation. To learn more, go to and click on Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center under Other Locations or phone (256) 546-6038.