Amniotic Membrane: A Promising Wound Care Option!

The use of amniotic membrane in wound care has gained significant attention in recent years due to its regenerative properties and potential to improve healing outcomes. Amniotic membrane is a biological material derived from the placenta and has been used in wound care for almost a century.

Recent advancements in technology have allowed for its prolonged storage and increased shelf life, making it a promising option for chronic wounds that fail to heal using traditional therapies. Comprised of amnion and chorion layers, amniotic membrane contains a variety of biologically active cells and regenerative molecules that promote tissue repair and regeneration.

Its ability to reduce pain, inflammation, and scar tissue formation makes it an ideal option for a range of wounds, including burns, diabetic ulcers, and surgical wounds. This article aims to provide an overview of the composition and characteristics of amniotic membrane, its application and use in wound care, as well as the benefits and considerations associated with its use.

Composition and Characteristics

The amniotic membrane, a biomaterial that has been used in wound care for almost a century, is an attractive option for treating various types of wounds. Comprising of amnion and chorion layers separated by a jelly-like layer, the membrane contains collagen, extracellular matrix, biologically active cells, and regenerative molecules that provide characteristics suited to wound healing such as cytokines, growth factors, and reduced inflammation.

The amnion layer, which has epithelial cells that can be easily removed, provides a biological barrier and a matrix for cell migration and proliferation. On the other hand, the chorion layer, which is the maternal side, contains cytokines, growth factors, and antibacterial properties.

Additionally, the amniotic membrane is non-immunogenic, and it reduces pain, increases wound healing, and reduces scar tissue formation. These properties make the amniotic membrane a promising option for wounds that fail to heal using traditional therapies and dressings.

Application and Use of Amniotic Membrane Grafts

Application and use of this biological material involves proper assessment of the wound and selection of a suitable secondary dressing for moist wound healing. Prior to application, a thorough assessment of the wound is necessary to determine whether or not the amniotic membrane graft is appropriate. Conservative treatment must have already been attempted and failed.

Once it has been determined that the amniotic membrane is suitable for use, it can be applied wet or dry and secured with a secondary dressing. The stromal collagen layer of the graft must face the wound, and the graft should not be disturbed for at least 1-2 weeks.

After application, improvement in the wound can typically be seen within 2-3 weeks. If there is a slowing in wound healing, a second graft can be applied.

It is important to note that the amniotic membrane is a promising wound care option, but it should be used in conjunction with other therapies and dressings. It provides a unique set of characteristics that are well-suited for wound healing, including growth factors, antibacterial properties, and a matrix for cell migration and proliferation.

Amniotic membrane grafting should not be utilized as a first-line treatment.  There are basic tenants of wound care that need to be optimized first.  This includes but not limited to appropriate cleaning/debridement of the ulceration/wound, ensuring that there is optimal blood flow into the foot/leg, eradication of the infection and appropriate nutrition.  If it still happens that there is impeded the blood flow then a consultation with a vascular surgeon or interventional radiologist is necessary to optimize the healing response.

With proper assessment and application, the amniotic membrane can provide another option for wounds that fail to heal using traditional therapies and dressings.

Benefits and Considerations

One important consideration when using this biological material is its ability to reduce inflammation and scar tissue formation in wounds. The amniotic membrane contains cytokines and growth factors that promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. In addition, the membrane provides a biological barrier that prevents infection and provides a matrix for cell migration and proliferation. The stromal collagen layer of the membrane should face the wound and it should be covered with a secondary dressing that promotes moist wound healing.

Another benefit of using amniotic membrane in wound care is that it is non-immunogenic, meaning that it does not cause an immune response in the recipient. This is important because it reduces the risk of rejection and allows for the use of the membrane in a wide variety of patients. Additionally, the membrane can be stored for prolonged periods of time, making it a convenient option for wound care clinics.

However, it is important to note that before using the membrane, an initial assessment of the wound is necessary to determine if it is an appropriate treatment option. Overall, amniotic membrane provides another option for wounds that have failed to heal using traditional therapies and dressings, and its benefits in reducing inflammation and scar tissue formation make it a promising choice for wound care.