Surgeon Successfully Performs First-Ever Transplant Surgery To Cure Deafness

Surgeon Successfully Performs First-Ever Transplant Surgery To Cure Deafness

A South African surgeon and his team at the University of Pretoria made history by successfully completing the world's first-ever middle ear transplant using 3D-printed bones.

Professor Mashudu Tshifularo / Credit:

Mashudu Tshifularo and his medical team became the first in the world to cure a 35-year-old patient's deafness by using 3D printing technology.

Tshifularo was able to replace the damaged bones of the patient's ear by recreating the anvil, hammer, stirrup, and ossicles, which make up the inner ear, with similarly-shaped titanium pieces produced on a 3D printer.

The University of Pretoria believes that the procedure "may be the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases."

The groundbreaking surgery was performed at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, where the patient had lost his hearing due to a car accident.

The surgery that took less than two hours.

"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. We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring," Tshifularo explained.

Tshifularo believes that this innovative technique will be the answer to all of those patients suffering from hearing loss regardless of their age.


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