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Postgrad Med J. 2007 Jan;83(975):e1.

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) treatment for a failing facial flap.

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Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is an approved treatment for 13 pathological entities. One of these indications--a failing facial flap--is presented in this case report of a traumatic wound to the face and right axilla after an unprovoked pit bull attack on a 4 year old girl. Surgical repair was started acutely but the facial flap became congested and ischaemic, indicating deterioration of the blood supply. HBO2 treatments were initiated twice a day, resulting in remarkably decreased swelling and discomfort after the first treatment. Leeching was also used to assist with reduction of venous congestion in the flap. The patient was discharged 5 days later with a well perfused, mostly intact, incision with minimal tenderness. Surgical repair was required for a small area of wound dehiscence. Photographs documenting the patient's progress with HBO2 are presented. A discussion of the mechanisms of action of HBO2 and its beneficial effects is provided in this case.

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