The amniotic membrane (or amnion) is composed of thin layers of fetal membranes on the inner side of the placenta. It is critical for the protection and confinement of the developing fetus.
Researchers have found that the amnion’s unique composition of cellular components and growth factors provide many benefits for those in the healing process. At TriForLife Birth Tissue Recovery Group, our mission is to recover these precious tissues that may otherwise become hospital waste.
Reconstructive surgeons have been using human amniotic membranes in various procedures since the early 1900s. Now, those suffering from difficult-to-heal wounds and soft tissue injuries can also benefit from amnion. In addition to using amnion as a natural biological membrane at the surgical site, some other common uses of amniotic membrane include the following:
Ophthalmic applications: Amniotic membrane is often successful as a substrate (foundation) to replace the damaged ocular tissue, a patch or biological graft, or as a combination of both. Doctors use it to treat chemical burns, corneal ulceration, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and pterygium excision.
Dental application: Amniotic membrane is currently showing great promise in treating gum disease by allowing the patient’s own gum tissue to facilitate the growth of new cells to replace lost tissue. Without the use of amnion, dental surgeons must harvest tissue from the patient’s own soft palate, which can be painful and carries a risk of infection.
Difficult-to-heal wounds: Doctors use amniotic membrane to treat diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, burns and other wounds that do not progress past the inflammatory stage of healing. By delivering growth factors and other building block proteins, the amniotic membrane helps the patient’s own cells regenerate the damaged tissue and close the wound. The amnion even reduces the formation of scar tissue, which often causes cosmetic and physical damage.
Sports injuries: Small tears in the tissue as a result of trauma or overuse can become inflamed, and if chronic, may weaken and become prone to more severe tearing. The formation of scar tissue could further impede the healing process. As in difficult-to-heal wounds, amniotic membrane delivers growth factors and other natural proteins to reduce scar tissue formation and inflammation and to enhance the healing of micro-tears in soft tissue.
Amnion has the potential for use as a wound covering in tens of thousands of surgeries annually. The use of amnion is often safer for the patient because it eliminates the need to harvest the patient’s own tissue. Harvesting a tissue graft from the patient can be quite painful, and having a secondary healing site increases the risk of infection.
Unfortunately, hospitals routinely discard birth tissue as medical waste. TriForLife believes that by donating their amniotic membranes and other birth tissue, mothers can provide hope for healing to many who are suffering. For more information about our services, contact our Tennessee office at 423-900-8495.