An exceptional 59-year-old African man named Mashudu Tshifularo has made history as the first-ever surgeon in the world to successfully cure deafness.
Mashudu Tshifularo is South African surgeon and also a a professor at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences. He successfully performs a transplant surgery on a deaf man.
Mashudu and his medical team developed a surgical procedure using 3D-printed middle ear bones. The procedure cures conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases.
The surgery can be performed on everyone including newborns. Mashudu together with his team performed the transplant surgery on a 35-year-old man, whose middle ear was completely damaged in a car accident and it was successful.
Speaking on the surgical procedure, Mashudu said they effectively replace the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, the ossicles (smallest bones in the body) that make up the middle ear using the 3D-printing technology to print these bones, and then used in the surgery to reconstruct the ossicles.
“By replacing 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,” Mashudu said.
”We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring,” he added. He stated that 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 the difference.
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The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences presented Mashudu with the Global Excellence Award at their 2019 Health Excellence Awards for his contribution innovative use of 3D printing technology to cure deafness around the world.