Amniotic Fluid is commonly known to anyone who has had children. It is fluid that bathes the baby while it is developing inside a mother’s womb. This fluid is full of growth factors that the baby uses to accelerate growth of many different types of cells. Without these factors, growth is slowed and can even lead to severe disease in future years. Once the labor has started, in a normal delivery, a woman’s ‘water breaks’ and all this fluid is lost as the baby prepares for a norman delivery bringing much joy to the parents.
However, for the Cesarean delivery (about one in three), the amniotic fluid can be saved so that it can be utilized for its healing effects on adult cells and the tissues that they produce. It is very important to understand that amniotic fluid is really just water with extremely high concentrations of the same growth factors that our own bodies produce. Amniotic fluid, once refined, has NO Stem Cells in it, it contains lots of lubricating hyaluronic acid, and it is immuno neutral, which means that anyone can use it. In effect it is a super high dose of PRP (platelet rich plasma) and it is basically what Stem Cells tell other cells to produce around an injured area that is having trouble healing.
So, if you’re asking why we would go to the trouble of extracting the last few remaining Stem Cells from your own bone marrow when we can just inject Amniotic Fluid, then we know that you are becoming educated in the whole Regenerative Medicine thing. Amniotic fluid is like turbo fuel for cellular activity and it is one of the ways that we can induce your own cells to produce more cartilage to repair joint surfaces or more muscle tissue in torn fascia around a rotator cuff in the shoulder. It is a chemical motivator, like a parent telling a teenager that he’ll get X-Box time if he cleans his room and fixes his bike’s flat tires on his own. It is just an offer that the cells can’t refuse.
But, it’s an extremely effective way to get your knees back in operation after years of cartilage degeneration. And we must remember that this cartilage will not return without motivation. It must be rebuilt by the cells that remain but they need really powerful incentive and amniotic fluid is that tool.