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June 27, 2011

Amniotic Membrane and Third Degree Burns

The amniotic membrane is a thin membrane that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The amniotic membrane can be used as a temporary coverage for burn wounds such as second and third degree burns. It can be used for both superficial and deep burn wounds as well as after dermoabrasion and in donor region. It can be obtained from the placenta. The pregnant has to be free from STDs and other diseases. The smell and the color of the placenta should be normal. As the number of patients surviving the burn injury is increasing due to the improved management of burn injuries, the use of biological dressing including the amniotic membrane is increasing in many parts of the world.

The advantages of using amniotic membrane as coverage for burn wounds are:

  1. Decrease fluid loss from the burned surface.
  2. Its use is not associated with immunological problems or allergic reactions.
  3. Available in large size.
  4. It's available in enough quantity.
  5. The histological structure of the amniotic membrane is similar to the structure of the skin.
  6. Decreases pain and decreases the possibility of keloid or scar formation.
The disadvantage of using amniotic membrane is the difficulty for viral infection screening and therefore there is some risk of transmission of viral infections such as Hepatitis unless preservation methods can eliminate the possibility of viral contamination.

The amniotic membrane doesn't vascularize (form blood vessels), but still can provide an effective method of temporary wound closure.

The type of amniotic membrane that is used for superficial burns is different from that used for deep burns. For deep burns, the amnion (a thin sac that surrounds and protects the fetus) and Chorion (one of the membranes that exist during pregnancy between the developing fetus and mother) are used while for superficial burns the amnion alone is used. To facilitate the control of bacterial overgrowth, the amniotic membrane is treated with silver.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.