Amnion-Based Injections in the Shoulder

Study Purpose

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the shoulder is a common debilitating condition affecting up to 5% of the general population and as much as 32% of patients over 60 years of age. Clinically, OA is diagnosed by a combination of symptoms, such as slow onset of progressively worsening shoulder pain and stiffness over months to years (often with a history of minor trauma), and pain with activity. Physical exam may show tenderness and swelling, muscle atrophy, and decreased range of motion. Adhesive capsulitis (also called "Frozen Shoulder") is another common shoulder condition, affecting 2-5% of the general population. Frozen shoulder presents with a similar combination of symptoms, such as inability to sleep on the side of the affected shoulder, shoulder pain, and pain at extremes of active and passive range of motion. Despite the ubiquitous nature of these conditions, various non-operative treatment modalities have been employed in their managements without a clearly superior alternative. The usual initial treatment strategy for both of these conditions is the same: a trial of conservative management. Conservative management includes physical therapy, supervised neglect, over-the-counter pain medications (including NSAIDs, like Advil), oral and intra-articular corticosteroid use (steroids), hydrodilatation (capsular distension to rupture), intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections. Despite several years of employing different modes of treatment, there is no evidence that places one treatment modality over the others, and patients will often need surgery. Amniotic fluid's apparent ability to improve blood flow, re-organize collagen, and protect cartilage makes it theoretically ideal for disorders like osteoarthritis and frozen shoulder. In recent studies, it has shown efficacy in promoting ligament healing in the knee and promoting tendon and degenerative joint pain reduction and functional improvement. It has been useful as a material for cartilage repair when used as a scaffold. Intra-articular amnion membrane injection may have favorable outcomes in patients with osteoarthritis of the shoulder or frozen shoulder. To test this hypothesis, intra-articular amnion will be injected into the shoulders of 20 patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis and 20 patients with frozen shoulder. The hypothesis is that improvement in short-term outcomes (pain, function, and range of motion) will be identified following amnion injection in these patients. The goal of this study is to lead to larger randomized controlled trials evaluating amnion against current forms of treatment for osteoarthritis.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Age 18 years or greater - Clinical diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis, clinically in the frozen phase at the time of enrollment OR Clinical diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the shoulder.
  • - Symptoms for 2-6 months - Failure of conservative management.
  • - > 25% reduction in active range of motion in >= 2/3 planes of motion in the affected shoulder.
- No alternative medical explanation for symptoms

Exclusion Criteria:

- Alternative explanation for symptoms including neurological disorders, or like conditions - Pregnancy or desire to become pregnant - Discretion of the enrolling clinician Exclusion in Amnion Injection Group: • Intra-articular steroid injection within 6 months of enrollment or surgical intervention in the within 12 months of enrollment in affected shoulder

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator Affiliation N/A
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Not yet recruiting
Countries United States

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder, Adhesive Capsulitis
Additional Details

Amnion injections are commonly performed by community orthopaedic surgeons for many conditions, including osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, and others. Human placental tissue has been reported to contain biochemical and immunologic properties that play key roles in regulation of the inflammation-healing cycle. Amnion-chorion membrane has been shown to contain high concentrations of collagens, transforming growth factor beta suppressors, and inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases that provide strong scaffolding, suppress scar formation, and regulate tissue remodeling, respectively. The amnion injection is a morselized, flowable tissue allograft derived from human amniotic tissues. The amniotic tissue comes from placenta, donated by pre-screened healthy women undergoing scheduled C-sections. It is processed into a form that can be injected. Similarly, in a recent study injection of micronized dehydrated human amnion-chorion membrane slowed the development of cartilaginous lesions and led to a decreased number of erosions in a rat model of osteoarthritis. There is also an emerging body of literature investigating its use in osteoarthritis of the knee, with promising early results. In one study human amniotic suspension allograft was injected into patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. No significant reactions were noted and the feasibility of injection for treatment of the osteoarthritis in the knee was demonstrated. Another study found that human amniotic fluid had a positive effect on tibia fracture healing through a rat model. In an osteoarthritis model, injection demonstrated attenuation of cartilage destruction and significant increases in cartilage thickness and volume. Finally, patients with plantar fasciitis noted significant improvement in symptoms, and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Hindfoot scores (pain, function, alignment) compared to controls. These studies suggest the safety and efficacy of amnion-based injections in treating specific orthopaedic pathologies. Osteoarthritis and adhesive capsulitis are two common pathologies of the shoulder. There is a variety of options for conservative management including physical therapy, pain medications, and injections, but no evidence that places one modality over another. The purpose of this study is the evaluate the effectiveness of amniotic fluid injection in treating these pathologies. In this study intra-articular amnion will be injected into the shoulders of patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis and patients with frozen shoulder and assessing pain, function and range of motion over time.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Osteoarthritis - Amnion Injection

BioDRestore Elemental Tissue Matrix is a morselized, flowable tissue allograft derived from human amniotic tissues.

Active Comparator: Osteoarthritis - Betamethasone Injection

Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate and Betamethasone Acetate injection (To clarify, this is one formulation/injected solution, not separate solutions/interventions)

Experimental: Adhesive Capsulitis - Amnion Injection

BioDRestore Elemental Tissue Matrix is a morselized, flowable tissue allograft derived from human amniotic tissues.

Active Comparator: Adhesive Capsulitis - Betamethasone Injection

Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate and Betamethasone Acetate injection (To clarify, this is one formulation/injected solution, not separate solutions/interventions)


Biological: - Amnion Injection

Per the manufacturer, this is considered an injection of tissue/organic matter.

Drug: - Betamethasone injection

Routine steroid injection for these pathologies. Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate and Betamethasone Acetate injection.

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama



University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama, 35205

Site Contact

Brent A Ponce, MD

[email protected]

(205) 975-2310