Scientists have found a new, non-surgical way to repair a damaged liver by using stem cells from tonsils, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, involved tonsil-derived stem cells compressed into a heat-sensitive liquid that turned to biodegradable, 3-D gel at body temperature.

The scientists also added substances that encouraged the stem cells to become liver cells, according to a news release.

Similar alternatives have been discovered before, but the stem cells were taken from bone marrow and had limitations. With thousands of tonsillectomies performed each year, scientists are hopeful the discarded tissue may have a new purpose.

Researchers said the results of the study may create a less-expensive, non-invasive alternative to liver transplants.