South African Doctor Performs World’s First Middle Ear Transplant Using 3D Technology
African doctor and his team successfully pioneered a transplant of a patient’s
middle ear using 3D technology to cure his deafness, making it the first in the
world. This groundbreaking procedure offers hope to many of those who suffer
from loss of hearing.
The first patient to receive the transplant
was a 35-year-old man who suffered hearing loss as a result of a car accident
that damaged his inner ear, according to a press release by the South African
Government. The operation was performed by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo
and his team from the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health at the
Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria on March 13. Using 3D technology, he
was able to recreate the bones—the hammer, anvil, stirrup, and the ossicles
that make up the inner ear, thus replacing the damaged ones.
was successfully completed in one and a half hours, owing to the severity of
the injury, according to a report by the Legit.
to when the patient will be able to get their hearing back, Tshifularo said: “The patients will get their hearing back immediately
but since they will be wrapped in bandages, only after two weeks, when they are
removed, will they be able to tell a difference.”
only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries
significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical
procedures. We will use titanium for this procedure, which is biocompatible. We
use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be
quick, with minimal scarring,” explained Tshifularo.
The best part
about the surgery is that it will be available to patients of all ages, from
newborns to the elderly.
Tshifularo has focused his Ph.D. over the last decade on conductive hearing
loss and came up with the idea of using 3D technology to recreate any of the
inner ear bones that may be damaged, thus restoring a patient’s hearing.
is proud of their accomplishment, and as Head of the Department of
Otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat studies, ENT) at the University of
Pretoria, he realizes the significance of his pioneering work.
“It also means
that we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that,”
he said. Tshifularo is the first black ENT specialist in South Africa
and is considered among the best in his field in the country as per the
stated that “3D technology is allowing us to do things we never thought we
could.” He would like to make this technology affordable and is looking for
sponsors to bring this to the medical community.