The rise of knee pain and osteoarthritis diagnoses has coincided with an increase in Elective Total Knee Replacements (TKRs). These replacements may be necessary for advanced osteoarthritis or particularly severe cases of knee pain, but there are potential risks and side effects that should be carefully considered.
This is why an increasing number of doctors are recommending a number of non-surgical treatments prior to a knee replacement to treat osteoarthritis. One such option that has grown in popularity is a knee injection of amniotic tissue.
What is Amniotic Tissue?
Amniotic tissue refers to the innermost layer of the placenta, the amniotic sac that encapsulates an unborn baby and the umbilical cord. The fluid from this tissue is laden with stem cells and hyaluronic acid, which is the same material that lubricates your knees so they move as they should. Plus, because amniotic fluid is regenerative – as it’s largely responsible for the health of a fetus – it can be used to treat inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and reduce scarring.
How is Amniotic Tissue Used to Treat Osteoarthritis?
When injected into your knee, amniotic tissue has powerful healing and pain-reducing capabilities. Because the tissue contains loads of growth factors, it encourages self-induced tissue repair of the affected area. Therefore, unlike most alternative injections, an injection of amniotic tissue goes beyond providing temporary relief. Rather, it prompts your body toward lasting reduction of knee pain.
How is Amniotic Tissue Sourced?
Amniotic tissue is obtained during a Caesarean Section (C-Section) procedure. During pregnancy, the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid nourish the fetus and protect it from threats to its immune system. After the C-Section is performed, this tissue is often discarded; but, if the mother consents to donate it, the amniotic tissue is screened for infectious diseases and sterilized in accordance to regulations by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). From there, the amniotic tissue can be stored for up to five years and utilized in a variety of medical applications, such as treatment of peripheral nerve injuries, leg ulcers, and osteoarthritis.
How Safe and Effective is Amniotic Tissue?
As a fairly new medical development, the use of amniotic tissue is currently undergoing intensive research. According to The American Academy of Pain Medicine, amniotic fluid injections are more effective than the standard hyaluronic acid (HA) injections in the long run. Amniotic fluid can induce lasting healing, whereas HA injections produce relief that fades away within 6-12 months. </p>
Amniotic tissue injections are also incredibly safe treatments, as donations are rigorously screened for possible genetic disorders and sterilized to prevent communicable disease transmission.
As a whole, amniotic tissue is proving to be a good non-surgical option for reducing knee pain. Chock-full of anti-inflammatory agents, growth factors and hyaluronic acid, amniotic tissue is primarily used to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing in the form of smoother, more mobile joints. Part of the growing field of regenerative medicine, it has the potential to improve the tissue composition of your knee over time and not just block off the pain.
To find out if an amniotic tissue injection is a right fit for your joints and your lifestyle, call Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers today to schedule your free no-obligation screening today.