“The patients will get their hearing back immediately” Doctor uses 3D technology to cure deafness

Credit: National Research Council, Twitter (L) / @carteblanchetv (R)

For years, we know that there’s no other treatment to deafness besides using the hearing aid. But recently, a South African doctor Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team just successfully pioneered a transplant of a patient’s middle ear using 3D technology to cure his deafness.

Over the last decade, Professor Tshifularo, the Head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat, ENT studies) at the University of Pretoria focused his Ph.D. on conductive hearing loss and came up with the idea of using 3D technology.

As the first black ENT specialist in South Africa, Professor Tshifularo is considered among the best in the country in his field.

He uses 3D technology to recreate the inner ear bones that may be damaged—thus restoring a patient’s hearing. 

First in the world, the groundbreaking procedure offers hope to those who suffer from loss of hearing. According to the South African Government, the first person to receive the transplant was a 35-year-old man who damaged his inner ear and suffered hearing loss after a car accident.

Using 3D technology, Professor Tshifularo and his team from the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health performed the operation at the Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria on March 13.

Professor Tshifularo was able to replace the damaged ones by recreating the bones—the hammer, anvil, stirrup, and the ossicles that make up the inner ear. They successfully performed the surgery in one and a half hours.

“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,” told Professor Tshifularo as to when the patient will be able to get their hearing back.

“By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedures.”

The professor also explained that they used titanium for the procedure because it is biocompatible. 

“We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring,” added the professor.

Professor Tshifularo has previously designed and patented a number of medical devices used in the area of ENT today and this one is his another successful story.

The best part about this surgery is that it will be available to patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.

Professor Tshifularo is currently looking for sponsors to bring this to the medical community and make this technology more affordable to all.

Watch Professor Tshifularo explanation in the interview below:

Credit: The Epoch Times


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