Allograft: a tissue graft from a donor of the same species as the recipient. It is used in the healing process.
What is Amniotic Allograft?
Amniotic allograft is tissue derived from human amniotic membrane and fluid. Placental tissue is donated by healthy mothers at the time of delivery at a scheduled cesarean section. The placenta is very rich in components that have strong healing properties when injected into another person. Amniotic fluid possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and regenerative properties that make it attractive for use in clinical applications1. We use a unique mix of human amniotic membrane and fluid which lists components as: Fibroblast Growth Factor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Epidermal Growth Factor, Platelet Derived Growth Factor A & B, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, Transforming Growth Factor beta, Hyaluronic Acid, Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist, Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases 1, Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases 2. Amniotic fluid functions as a supportive cushion to the fetus and provides a protective environment including rich sources of nutrients, cytokines and growth factors that are required for fetal development and maturation2. These specialized cells are used by your body to decrease inflammation, rebuild tissue and become the cells that your body needs to repair3. This can be following an injury, degenerative process or even after surgery. This is one of the tools used in Regenerative Medicine.
Where does the Allograft come from?
The material we use in our clinic, the amniotic allograft, is donated by a pregnant woman. The placenta is taken during a C-section after her baby is born. This material is recovered with the mother's consent following a live birth.
A rigorous screening process occurs before any placental tissue is harvested. Donors are healthy women between the ages of 18-45 years. Prior to the delivery a thorough medical and social history is collected to ensure the mother meets the high standards of eligibility. Donors are thoroughly screened for communicable diseases. Ultimately, approval of the tissue for use is made by the Medical Director, following an intensive and complete medical review and pre-natal evaluation prior to delivery.
Once the baby is delivered via C-section, the placenta and fluid, which has been discarded in the past, is now saved. These tissues are then extensively tested for viability and safety.
This process is performed at several facilities around the USA. They follow very strict guidelines with stringent screening and recovery protocols. This is done in a highly controlled environment.
What conditions are typically treated with Amniotic Allograft / Regenerative Medicine?
- Cartilage tears
- Rotator cuff tears
- Ligament or tendon tears
How long have amniotic tissue based products been used?
Although the popularity in orthopedics and pain management is relatively new, amniotic derived products have a 100 year history of being used in other disciplines for their healing properties.
What can I expect if I wish to proceed with this option?
You will first meet with our health professionals. A thorough examination and x-rays will be obtained of the area(s) of complaint. Outside imaging may be reviewed, such as an MRI. If you are found to be a candidate for the procedure our professionals will guide you through the process.
The allograft is ordered and it is flown overnight under strict temperature and packaging guidelines. Our experienced Nurse Practitioner injects a tailored dose of amniotic allograft serum using state of the art ultrasound guided technology. As soon as you are injected with the amniotic allograft serum, healing and regeneration begins as cell growth is triggered. This process will continue for months. The cells grow and divide, creating new tissues in the injured area.
The injection process is done in our injection suite during one visit and there is no down time. You will have minor limitations for 2 weeks to allow the material to stay in the area that was injected so it can work through the healing process. There are times when we may use a brace to support the affected joint. This is done on a case by case basis. Rehabilitation may also be a part of your care plan. Rehab is done in our large rehab facility on site and at home.
How is this procedure different from other clinics?
Some clinics use your own tissue from the hip or adipose (fat) layer. While this may sound appealing it is generally less effective. It also requires more injections as the harvest process is also needed. There are no cells more fresh and new than those found in a placenta. As we age, so do our cells. This is not the ideal source of material as the viability and the ability to differentiate decline the older we get.
There are also companies that use the entire placenta. This means that the cells on the mother's side of the placenta (chorion layer) have to be treated as they have been known to cause an antigen (allergic) response. This further degrades the cells that are ultimately injected into the injured person.
The source we use only collects the baby’s side of the placenta (amnion layer) for injection which allows the material to be more viable and readily available to help the injured person. At Wisconsin Center for Integrative Health, we feel this is the most effective treatment for our patients.
Amniotic tissues are also thought to have “immune privilege”, reducing the risk of an adverse immune reaction4.
1) Collection and characterization of amniotic fluid from scheduled C-section deliveries. Jan Pierce, Pam Jacobson, Eric Benedetti, et al. Cell Tissue Bank. 2016; 17: 413-425
2) Amniotic Fluid: Not Just Fetal Urine Anymore. Mark A Underwood, William M Gilbert, Michael P Sherman. Journal of Perinatology. 2005; 25: 341-348
3) Complements and the Wound Healing Cascade: An Updated Review. Hani Sinno and Satya Prakash. Plast Surg Int. 2013: 2013: 146764
4) Immunological characteristics of amniotic epithelium. Hori J, Wang M, Kamiya K, TakahashiH, Sakuragawa N. Cornea. 2006; 25(10): S53-58