ENGLAND -

Surgeons in England say they have used a 3-D printer, combined with stem cells, to create a new hip for a 71 year old woman.

Meryl Richards has had six surgeries to fix her hip which was shattered in a car accident decades ago. She hope this operation will be her last.

Layer by layer, a 3D printer created the implant from powdered titanium based on scans of Meryl's existing hip.

Doctors say the printer's precision makes the implant a perfect fit.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 reporter Natalie Brunell took a closer look at 3D printing technology in a special report in April. Jean Hopkins of Palm Desert had two knee replacements in the last two years. One was done using traditionally-manufactured guides, which only come in a few sizes, and the other was done using 3Dprinted guides shaped to fit only her.

The technology has many uses outside of the medical world as well. 3D printers can be used to build large homes and even weapons.

As with all new technologies, 3D printing carries risks as well as benefits. But its unlimited potential could shape the way we build our future.

Read more about 3D printing technology.