You might have heard “amnion” in the same sentence as “pregnancy” or even “regenerative medicine.” What’s the connection?
During pregnancy, an embryo is protected by the placenta, which consists of two membranes. Amnion, short for amniotic membrane, is the innermost membrane. (Chorion is the outer membrane). Thin and tough, the placenta fills with amniotic fluid and expands as the fetus develops.
Amnion has properties that lend itself to wound-healing and tissue repair. Although we associate regenerative medicine with recent decades, amnion has actually been used in the medical field for more than a century. The first known usage was for a skin transplant in 1910 at John Hopkins Hospital. From there, medical applications expanded to include treatment for ulcerated skin conditions, vaginal malformations, and vestibuloplasty. Fast forward to today, and the medical uses for amnion are numerous, from optometry to orthodontics to orthopedics. It’s one of the safest, most widely used regenerative therapies available.
Genesis Biologics saw the benefits and potential of amnion. We began working with amniotic products in 2011; in 2015, we started the process of developing our own product line with high standards for both processing and transparency. In 2016, we introduced our Amniotic Membrane (AM) and Amniotic Fluid (AF).
Why Does Amnion Work?
Structurally, AM and AF are composed of proteins and cytokines that support cellular migration. They also contain high molecular weight proteins that play a role in proliferation, differentiation, and adherence to the application area. Translation? AM and AF have the building blocks for tissue regeneration. Because they have natural growth factors, they’re free of steroidal side effects.
Both AM and AF are team players. First, their combination of growth factor proteins (PDGF, VEGF, EGF, FGF, and TGF-β) work well with the body’s own cells to repair tissue and to minimize scarring. Second, AM and AF reduce bacteria count in wounds and have high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, AM and AF are well-suited for allograft implants, because they are “immune privileged.” In other words, they have little-to-no risk of foreign body reaction.
What Are the Uses?
In keeping with the “team players” metaphor, AM and AF can be used to treat a variety of injuries sustained by athletes and non-athletes alike: muscle tears, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, soft tissue and repetitive motion injuries, inflamed nerves, and intra-articular pain. (Note: No allograft implant is risk-free, and your doctor will be able to answer your questions about possible risks.)
The tissue repair and anti-inflammatory properties of AM and AF combine to make therapeutic amnion an effective, safe option that will heal quickly and efficiently. Now that’s a win.