Doctors in Southampton, England have successfully used adult stem cells to repair hip bones, allowing patients to avoid hip replacement surgery. After removing dead tissue in the hip, the cavity is filled with bits of ground up bone and the patient’s own adult stem cells. So far six patients have had the treatment with only one failure, doctors said.

Carl Millard, who had the adult stem cell procedure, said he could walk normally and without any pain. Millard’s surgeon said his bone would have collapsed without the stem cell treatment, requiring an artificial hip joint. Prof. Richard Oreffo leads the team developing the adult stem cell technique.

Adult stem cells have been used by other doctors to heal non-healing fractures and allow patients to walk again.