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Stem cells

Stem cells have been in the news again recently. These cells which are present in bone marrow, have the ability to turn into different tissues such as skin and bone. They have been used in orthopaedic surgery to help bone grafts turn into solid bone more quickly and completely. I have used them on a few occasions to treat Avascular Necrosis (AVN) of the hip. In this painful condition, the blood supply to the weight-bearing part of the head of the femur is damaged, leading to softening of the bone and subsequent collapse. In some cases it is possible to drill into the bone and then pack bone graft and stem cells into femoral head to encourage the bone to heal, and hopefuly prevent collapse.

Stem cells are not a cure for osteoarthritis of the hip, and their use is very limited at the moment.

A worrying report from Canada recently stated that:

‘Premature enthusiasm and protocols that are not fully vetted are dangerous and result in negative publicity for the field of stem cell research, and more importantly, may result in disastrous outcomes with no benefit to the patient. Although there is promise, a large gap still exists between scientific knowledge and clinical translation for safe and effective stem cell-based therapies.’

These new forms of treatment must be regarded as ‘work in progress’.

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    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

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  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

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  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

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  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more