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Oxygen is essential to life and many of our body’s functions. Without it, we would not be able to breathe, which would cause suffocation and death. During traumatic experiences, such as heart attacks and strokes, being administered pure oxygen can be beneficial for the patient. The administration of oxygen during surgery is also commonly used during various procedures.

Contemplating these procedures the question arises: How much oxygen can we handle safely? Too much oxygen in non-surgical situations can lead to a condition known as oxygen toxicity. This condition is typically found in deep sea divers, who might experience decompression sickness and must readjust to changes in pressure in a decompression tank.

In the healthcare field, the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for thirteen different types of conditions. A hyperbaric oxygen machine administers increased levels of pure oxygen for short periods of time to enrich the body’s cells.

One form of this type of therapy is to assist cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments. While radiation is an effective means to destroy cancer-causing cells, it can also damage healthy cells and the small blood vessels inside them. By enriching oxygen saturation levels through hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the body can be stimulated to grow healthy new noncancerous cells, as well as stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in existing healthy cellular tissues.

In surgical environments, there are benefits of administering controlled levels of oxygen. Cells that have been enriched with oxygen help promote the body’s healing response and strengthen the immune system against infections. Both of these aspects can help speed recovery times postoperatively. They can also reduce the likelihood of surgery-related infections from developing.

In addition, most surgeries only last a few hours, so there is very little to no risk of oxygen toxicity. The administration of oxygen is highly regulated and monitored throughout the procedure. During this time, the concentration levels of oxygen are kept within acceptable limits based on the type of surgery and the patient’s current medical condition, overall health, and age.

Some patients undergoing a major surgery may not even need to be administered oxygen during their procedure. However, your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses will determine whether giving you supplemental oxygen is beneficial for your particular procedure or could aid in your post-operative recovery.

If you are administered oxygen during surgery, the increased concentration levels only remain in the body for a short period of time before returning to normal saturation amounts. The surgical risks of potential side effects from oxygen administration are very minimal, even when undergoing complicated surgical procedures.

If you have further concerns or questions about supplement oxygen used during surgical procedures, or if you are looking for experienced surgeons for various types of procedures, please feel free to contact The Surgery Group of Los Angeles at 424.522.1068 to schedule a consultation appointment today!