Amniotic Fluid Saves Feet

Nerve disease caused by type-2 diabetes accounts for half of all amputations in the U.S. But a new treatment is now helping patients keep their limbs.

Diabetic sores on Rocco LoBosco's left foot robbed him of his little toe, and doctors told him could lead to worse.

Rocco LoBosco :06
Has Diabetic Foot Sores
"There's still a chance that you might lose part of the foot, or the whole foot, or even the leg," says Rocco LoBosco who has diabetic foot sores.

But by harnessing the power of amniotic fluid, Doctor Richard Jacoby says it's possible to avoid that.

"Amniotic fluid seems to meet the criteria to develop new tissue," says Dr. Richard Jacoby the Medical Director Scottsdale Neuropathy Institute.

Amniotic fluid from a pregnant donor is injected into or wrapped around the nerve during decompression surgery. The stem cells in the fluid stimulate the affected area, telling it to heal the wound.

"I've done 16 nerves with this technique, and all of them have restored their sensation," explains Dr. Jacoby.

The new technique not only helps save limbs, but lives as well.

"Your life expectancy is two years after an amputation," says Dr. Jacoby.

Rocco had the procedure. You can see his bad nerves in red.

"I had no feeling whatsoever in either of my feet," explains Rocco.

And a month after the procedure, "Now, I feel it,” says Rocco. “So, just doing this tells me that there is a definite improvement because I couldn't do this before."

There are about 100,000 amputations each year in the U.S.

Doctor Jacoby says he also just used the treatment to help a woman with multiple sclerosis get out of a wheelchair and start walking with a cane.

The amniotic fluid comes from donors from an FDA approved laboratory.


TOPIC: Amniotic Fluid Saves Feet
REPORT: MB # 3636

BACKGROUND: People with diabetes are more likely to have a foot, toe, or leg amputated than other people. It happens because diabetics have blood vessel disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet, and nerve disease, that reduces sensation in the feet. These two conditions together cause sores and infections that may lead to amputation. Despite changes in care over the years, foot, toe, and leg amputations are still common. Research has been able to show links between risk factors like high blood pressure and high blood glucose and a person's chance of having a lower-extremity amputation (LEA). However, more research needs to be done in order to evaluate which patients with diabetes are most at risk. (Source:

TYPE 1 DIABETES: The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy was a long-term study of eye disease in people with type 1 diabetes that was conducted to find out how common lower-extremity amputations were in people with type 1 diabetes. It involved 943 patients. Researchers looked at how many patients got diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations over the years. They also looked at other possible risk factors like sex, age, age at diabetes diagnosis, length of time with the disease, blood glucose and blood pressure control, smoking status, weight, and the presence of other diabetes-related complications. Over the course of 25 years, about ten percent of the patients had an LEA. People with type 1 diabetes have a high chance of needing an LEA over the long term. Those with high blood glucose or high blood pressure and those who are heavy smokers are at a greater risk. (Source:

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Building upon past research, Dr. Bruce Werber of InMotion Foot & Ankle Specialists developed a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers that prevents amputations. Dr. Werber gets the open, infected wounds to close by injecting them with amniotic fluid. "We now have amniotic membrane and fluid that is cryopreserved. So it can be used on anybody at anytime and anywhere and morselized so it can be injected. We don't have to have a live birth to collect it, and it can be harvested in very clean, sterile conditions. We inject it in and around the wound, and it enhances the healing," Dr. Werber was quoted as saying. (Source: Dr. Werber says a diabetic ulcer happens when diabetics lose sensation in their feet. It's called neuropathy, and it happens gradually. He says diabetics may get a cut and don't know it. That cut could then become infected and the wound can erode through the skin and down to the bone. He says even a small diabetic ulcer can become life-threatening. In his study of 20 patients, they all had wounds that were unresponsive to other more traditional treatments. He said they injected the amniotic membrane around the wounds, and they started to close within days. The membrane has mesenchymal stem cells, which have all of the nutritional materials the tissue needs to heal. It stimulates the body very aggressively to start to create healthy tissue. Dr. Werber says of the 20 patients, all of their wounds have responded, and 90 percent have closed in the last year. "Everybody had progression, which is pretty remarkable for any medication," Dr. Werber said. (Source:


Scottsdale Neuropathy Institute

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