Stem cell procedure could end need for hip replacements

Hospital open evening - orthopaedics

Surgeons based at Southampton’s university hospitals have developed a revolutionary stem cell procedure that could end the need for hip replacements in patients suffering from a common bone disease.

The procedure, developed by Doug Dunlop, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, and Professor Richard Oreffo, a specialist in musculoskeletal science at the University of Southampton, involves extracting stem cells from the bone marrow of patients in need of hip repair due to osteonecrosis, where poor blood supply causes significant bone damage.

These cells are mixed with cleaned, crushed bone from another patient who has had their own hip replaced and used to fill the hole made by surgeons after dead and damaged tissue has been removed from the joint.

“Although this work is still ongoing, several patients who have had the procedure have reacted very well and, if we get the results we are hoping for, these patients won’t need to have their hip joints replaced – they should be fixed completely,” said Mr Dunlop, speaking ahead of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s orthopaedic open evening on Thursday (31 May).

Professor Oreffo added: “By using stem cells to send out chemical signals to blood vessels, we hope the body will continue to create new vessels in the hip which supply enough nutrients to maintain bone strength.”

Mr Dunlop will be joined at the event, which takes place at the Lyndhurst Park Hotel from 7pm to 9pm, by fellow hip surgeon Jeremy Latham, who will talk about metal-on-metal replacements, specialist physiotherapist Georgina Hawes and enhanced recovery nurse Allison Willis.

Anyone interested in attending, or joining as a member to receive regular updates and event invitations, should call 023 8120 4853, email or visit

Posted on Monday 28 May 2012