Metal Hip Replacements Could Be A Thing Of The Past, As Scientists Design a "Living" Hip

It can actually prevent the onset of arthritis.

20/07/2016 11:07
University of Washington

This could be the end of metal hip replacements as scientists have designed a new “living hip” from stem cells.

The team of scientists in the USA have given new hope to arthritis sufferers after they grew an artificial hip, capable of replacing worn cartilage and stopping painful joints returning.

Dana Neely via Getty Images

Growing cartilage from stem cells in the exact shape of a hip joint, the team at the University of Washington, have genetically engineered the first viable alternative to full joint replacement. 

This would work by implanting the “living” cartilage into the joint to provide a cushion to the ball and socket joint, before it becomes completely worn away.

Currently there are approximately 160,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries undertaken in England and Wales every year, according to the National Joint Registry


Not only will the cartilage provide a cushion to aid patient mobility, but it can also be programmed to release anti-inflammatory molecules, which can stop the return of arthritis pains.

The technology is particularly good news for younger patients who suffer with arthritis, as doctors do not normally replace hip joints on people under 50.

Not only does it provide solutions to a wider age demographic, but scientists predict the same technology could be applied to all joint surgery.

In the UK approximately eight million people suffer from osteoarthritis, which means that cartilage around bone joints wears away and becomes thin.

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