MAGNETIC bandages may soon be used to repair worn joints and mend broken bones.
Combining the dressings with an injection of stem cells helps cartilage and bone to regrow, researchers found.
The method, in which patients would recover at home, could spell the end of hip and knee replacement ops.
The NHS does about 100,000 of each every year, as well as spending £2billion on treating 850,000 broken bones.
The technique sees tiny magnetic particles attached to stem cells — which are able to turn into bone and cartilage.
They are injected before being guided to the damaged areas and activated by the magnetic bandage.
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In tests on sheep, the treatment sped up bone repair. Human trials are planned.
Prof Alicia El Haj, of Birmingham University, said the method worked better than existing treatments and would be “quicker, cheaper and much less painful”.
She said: “You could have it in a GP clinic.”
The breakthrough is being presented at the Royal Society summer science exhibition.