IT IS a revolutionary new operation that uses a 3D hip printed from a machine.

But the chances of you having hip surgery using the state-of-the-art implant and stem cells is very slim - according to a Southampton expert.

Only a minority of hip replacement patients will have access to the sophisticated technique that was pioneered at Southampton General Hospital this week.

It is the first time that doctors and scientists in the city have done hip surgery using a 3D printed implant in combination with bone stem cells graft.

It is hoped that the new titanium hip, which was designed using the patient's CT scan and state-of-the-art technology, will last longer because it has been made to fit the patient's exact measurements.

Meryl Richards, from Hampshire, who has had hip troubles since she was involved in a traffic accident in the 1970's, was the patient to receive this revolutionary hip.

Vitali Goriainov, a clinical registrar working at the University of Southampton, told the Daily Echo that the operation offers an alternative for the most complicated of hip patients, like Mrs Richards who has had several operations on her hip but still suffered excruciating pain.

For these patients the surgery, which was conducted by Douglas Dunlop, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, is now available and the hospital already has two more patients lined up for the operation.

But he added that the majority of patients would not be offered 3D implants and bone stem cells grafts because the routine operation is all they require.

He said: “This is scientific magic.

“This new treatment is for the minority of patients who, as a clinician, you look at and think 'this is a disaster, what am I going to do'.

“Now we have this solution for them and it is very exciting.

“It is available now for these patients but I think it will be a few years before this is used for the less complicated of cases.

“Most hip patients don't require this level of sophistication and will do very well with the routine operation.”

The implant will provide a new socket for the ball of the femur bone to enter and behind the implant and between the pelvis, doctors have inserted a graft containing bone stem cells.

The graft acts as a filler for the loss of bone.

The patient's own bone marrow cells have been added to the graft to provide a source of bone stem cells to encourage bone regeneration behind and around the implant.