AmnioFix - Injectable Micronized Amniotic Membrane Allograft for Enhanced Soft Tissue Healing
In the world of orthopedics and sports medicine, our job as physicians is to accomplish several goals for our patients. First, we simply want our patients to feel better... medically stated, "the reduction of symptoms." Next, we help our patients return to a normal or above normal level of function. For an athlete, this may mean a return to marathon training, competition within a travel sports league or simply being able to walk the course during 18 holes of golf. For a working adult, this may mean a return to his or her job without limitations.
For decades, the medical world has struggled in the quest to help patients overcome stubborn cases of tendonitis and to reduce the limiting symptoms of osteoarthritis. Today, we are offering patients minimally-invasive and very natural ways of treating these kinds of problems.
The primary type of regenerative injection we are using is derived from fetal membranes, specifically called the amniotic membrane. This protective layer has numerous growth factors and is taken from healthy mothers who have donated these tissues after Cesarean sections. The membrane then undergoes a thorough cleansing and purifying process, and the final stage involves placing the membrane into a stable dehydrated powder. Sterile saline is added at the doctor's office to turn this into a power-packed regenerative injection. The goal of the product that we currently use called AmnioFix is three-fold: reduce inflammation, reduce scar tissue formation and enhance the healing of micro-tears in soft tissue. Although new to sports medicine, AmnioFix has been used almost 200,000 times in other fields of medicine with very rare side effects. "Rejection" of this tissue is not known to occur. This product is an alternative to PRP, or it may be used in conjunction with PRP.
Many patients ask about insurance coverage of these injectables. Currently, it is rare for insurances to cover these procedures, as they are often deemed "experimental." As our healthcare system continues to evolve with regards to reimbursement, we think that fewer and fewer procedures, including fewer surgeries, will be covered by insurances. Deductibles are rising, meaning greater out-of-pocket costs for patients. As you choose an intervention to help you overcome your tendonitis or arthritis, consider what options can give you the most cost-effective and longest lasting results. We use cortisone injections with success in many situations, and although these are "covered" by insurance, a patient with an unmet deductible may pay more for a cortisone injection than he would for a PRP or AmnioFix injection. Unfortunately, cortisone injections only provide temporarily relief for some patients, as they function only to reduce inflammation, not promote healing. Thus, PRP and regenerative "biologic" injections are much more likely to promote healing and serve as more cost-effective options in the long run. Ultimately, they may be better "investments" in your health when compared to cortisone, medications and some surgeries.
In conclusion, we are excited to offer our patients safe, innovative and natural treatments that can help our patients overcome various types of tendonitis and plantar fasciitis as well as reducing the pain and dysfunction associated with osteoarthritis. For many of our patients interested in these, traditional treatment measures have been tried and failed. Some patients are looking to avoid surgery that could mean greater risks, inconsistent results and much higher costs. The 21st century will produce some great options for orthopedic conditions. At Impact, we will continue to be pioneers in offering many cutting-edge options.
As always, let us know if we can be a help to you.
Joel M Wilner DPM, FACFAS
NM Foot And Ankle Associates