Abscesses in the brain can occur as a complication of sinus infection or bone infections of the skull. Occasionally brain abscesses can be seeded from another, more distant part of the body. Usually if there is a brain abscess it occurs with multiple other brain abscesses.
The treatment for many abscesses is to drain them in surgery. Unfortunately, normal tissue in the brain can be permanently damaged using this method. Antibiotics may not penetrate brain abscesses. Also, white blood cells require a certain amount of oxygen to kill bacteria. Most intracranial abscesses are caused by anaerobic bacteria. These are bacteria that function in a low oxygen environment.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy raises the oxygen level in the abscessed area exposing these bacteria to high levels of oxygen which may slow their growth or even kill them.
At the same time high levels of oxygen help the white cells to destroy the bacteria more efficiently. Hyperbaric oxygen can help a person with a brain abscess to recover and have less likelihood of permanent brain damage. Depending on a person’s overall state of health, a brain abscess can be treated in an outpatient or in hospital hyperbaric chamber.