British surgeons are pioneering a new technique which uses stem cells to repair damaged bones.

The procedure could prevent thousands of people from needing to have an artificial hip replacement.

Sky News was given exclusive access to one of the first operations, which was done at the Spire Hospital in Southampton.

Mark Venables, 39, suffers from a condition where bone in his hip died, weakening his joint and causing pain on movement.

But surgeons used his own stem cells to rejuvenate the affected bone.

"I just want to get back to an active life," he told Sky News before the operation.

Surgeons purified stem cells from bone marrow which they extracted from his pelvis.

These were then mixed with cleaned, ground-up bone from another patient, who had had their own hip replaced.

After they removed the dead tissue from the ball of his hip, the doctors filled the cavity with the mixture of stem cells and donated bone.

Surgeon Doug Dunlop said the bone would have collapsed without the stem cell treatment. Venables would have then needed an artificial hip joint.

"If this new procedure works, he won't need a hip replacement. It will fix his hip for life," said Dunlop.

Six patients have so far had the treatment. Only one has failed.

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