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About Amniotic Membranes

Amniotic membrane, or amnion is the innermost layer of the placenta that surrounds the baby in the womb.

This human placental membrane has been used since the early 1900’s in various surgical procedures as a biological dressing – it aids healing and acts as a substrate (foundation material) for soft tissue regrowth.

This biological bandage has been used in:

Treatment of burns
Treatment of non-healing leg ulcers
Dental and maxillofacial surgery
Eye surgery

Eye Surgery

Amniotic membrane is widely used in eye surgery as a bandage to heal or replace damaged eye tissue. It is thin, lightweight, elastic and almost transparent making it suitable for use on the surface of the eye. It is used to treat chemical burns, ulcers of the cornea or conjunctiva and during surgical procedures where eye tissue has to be excised. Amniotic membrane products have been successfully used in many surgical procedures in South Africa.

How does it work?

The Amniotic membrane consists of 2 parts:

Strong basement membrane and stromal layer

Layer of epithelial cells

The basement membrane acts as a substrate (foundation layer) onto which cells can grow to repair or replace the damaged tissue.

The cells of the epithelial layer produce biological factors and mediators that aid the healing process.

The therapeutic benefits of amniotic membrane are:

Provides a natural biological barrier to external insults

Anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties

Anti-inflammatory properties

Anti-scarring properties

Prevent overgrowth of blood vessels

Help in pain reduction at injury site

Sources of Amniotic membrane

Amniotic membrane is obtained from donated placentas arranged through the Netcare Transplant Unit. Placentas are recovered with full consent from the donor.

All donors are screened for transmissible diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B&C, HTLV, Syphilis and CMV. All amniotic membrane samples are tested during processing for bacterial and fungal contamination, to ensure sterility of the product.


Amniotic Membrane Products

Next Biosciences produces 2 different types of amniotic membrane which are both available in different sizes:

1. Dehydrated AmnioMatrix

Dehydrated AmnioMatrix is a dry amniotic membrane that has had the epithelial layer of cells removed. This membrane acts as a scaffold onto which new cells can grow once it has been placed on the wound. As it is dry, it is packaged and stored conveniently at room temperature.


2. Cryopreserved AmnioMatrix

Cryopreserved AmnioMatrix is fresh amniotic membrane that is processed and stored frozen at -800C. With this method the epithelial layer of cells is retained as well as the important biological factors and mediators.

Your doctor will decide which product to order depending on the particular indication for use.