Jay Leno remained in the hospital Friday after he underwent surgery after a petrol accident that left him with serious burns to his face and hands.
The injury occurred after a gasoline fire broke out in the garage of the legendary comedian and “Tonight Show” host over the weekend. While he was working on his car, a blocked fuel line snapped open, spraying fuel in his face, and a nearby spark ignited the gasoline.
Leno underwent excision and grafting surgery for second- and third-degree burns and was scheduled for another operation this week.
In a statement released earlier this week, Leno said he needed “a week or two” to get back on his feet. But on Wednesday, Dr. Peter Grossman, medical director of the Grossman-Bern Center, said Leno “realizes that maybe he needs to take it a little slower than he initially expected.”
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Right now, Leno is undergoing “very aggressive” hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Grossman said.
So what is the treatment and how does it work?
What is compressed oxygen therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is a treatment that reduces swelling and flushes out bacteria. The treatment, which is administered in a special hyperbaric chamber, is designed to speed healing of resistant wounds and fight infection, according to Johns Hopkins.
“The high levels of oxygen kill bacteria, promote the growth of new blood vessels, and increase growth factors: all of these create the perfect environment for the skin to heal,” said Dr. Martin O’Malley, MD, medical director at MDHyperbaric in New York City, USA. Today is Friday.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also a well-established treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, and decompression sickness, a potential hazard of scuba diving.
How does oxygen therapy work?
The patient is treated in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy room, where the air pressure is two to three times higher than normal air pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic. This allows the patient’s lungs to collect more oxygen, which helps fight bacteria.
Injured tissues require more oxygen to survive. The extra oxygen from the treatment is meant to stimulate the release of growth factors and stem cells to promote healing, according to Mayo.
Mayo Clinic researchers said the treatment also increases the amount of oxygen a person’s blood can carry. “With repeated treatments, temporary supplemental oxygen levels promote normal tissue oxygen levels, even after treatment is completed,” according to the Mayo Clinic patient information about the treatment.
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What does hyperbaric oxygen therapy do for burns?
The goals of treating thermal burns are to reduce edema (swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in body tissues), preserve vital tissue, protect the microvasculature (the small system of blood vessels within body tissues), and boost the host’s defenses to fight infection, said O’Malley, who is also Orthopedist for the Brooklyn Nets, USA Basketball and Iona University athletics team physician, as well as a foot and ankle consultant for the New York Giants and New York City Ballet.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy addresses these concerns by reducing edema, decreasing fluid requirements, and preserving skin structures while improving vascularity and increasing the immune response,” he said. “These physiological benefits of hyperbaric oxygen show improved recovery, reduced mortality, reduced hospital stays, and reduced need for surgery in thermal burn patients.”
How often is it required?
O’Malley said treatment should begin as soon as possible after a thermal burn injury.
Three treatments are suggested in the first 24 hours and twice daily thereafter. Sessions are 90 minutes long and should last for 20-30 sessions.
However, he said the number of treatments depends on the clinical extent of the infection and response to treatment.
What other conditions do you treat?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used for wound healing in patients after surgery, as well as those with autoimmune disorders and prolonged COVID, O’Malley said.
“This treatment has been around for decades, and the benefits for thermal burn patients were originally seen in 1965 when it was observed that it healed second-degree burns faster in a group of coal miners who were being treated for carbon monoxide,” he said.
Health care providers may also suggest hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the following conditions:
- severe anemia
- Brain abscess.
- Bubbles of air in the blood vessels, known as arterial embolism.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning.
- crush injury.
- sudden deafness
- depressive illness
- Injury to the skin or bones that causes tissue death.
- Wounds that do not heal, such as a diabetic foot ulcer.
- radiation injury.
- traumatic brain injury
- Sudden and painless vision loss.
Natalie Nyssa Allund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @employee.
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