Surgeons at the Spire Hospital, Southampton are using a stem cell treatment to remove the need of artificial hip replacement surgery.
The surgery has so far been conducted on six patients with only one failure. Stem cells are extracted from pelvic bone marrow and then mixed with ground-up donor bone. After removing the dead tissue from the ball of the hip, doctors fill the cavity with the mixture.
39 year-old Mark Venables’ hip bones had died off, weakening the joint and causing pain. Anywhere else he would have received a hip replacement as the bone would soon have collapsed.
“If this new procedure works, he won’t need a hip replacement. It will fix his hip for life,” said the surgeon, Mr Dunlop.
Professor Richard Oreffo, of Southampton University, explains: “Bone is a living vibrant tissue. These stem cells generate new tissue and drive new blood vessel formation to bring in nutrients,” he said. “Just as people need cornflakes and sugar in the morning, so cells need nutrients to grow and survive - and that is what is so important here.”
Carl Millard is pain-free and walking normally now having had the stem cell procedure last year. “I feel great,” he said. “If this can prevent people having to have a hip replacement, I think it is wonderful.”