A groundbreaking surgical innovation utilizing 3D-printed middle ear bones, pioneered by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health in South Africa, offers a promising solution for conductive hearing loss.  

This condition, stemming from congenital birth defects, infections, trauma, or metabolic diseases affecting the middle ear, may now find relief through this revolutionary procedure, suitable for patients of all ages, including newborns. 

In a historic achievement in March 2019, Prof Tshifularo became the first surgeon globally to successfully conduct transplant surgery. The procedure restored hearing to a 35-year-old male recipient who had suffered complete middle ear damage in a car accident. 

The innovative technique involves replacing the ossicles—the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, which are the smallest bones in the body and constitute the middle ear. Utilizing 3D-printing technology, these bones are fabricated and employed in reconstructing the ossicles during surgery. 

This surgical breakthrough streamlines the reconstruction of ossicles in middle ear procedures like ossiculoplasty and stapedectomy, enhancing the likelihood of success while minimizing intrusive trauma. 

 Importantly, Prof Tshifularo’s method also diminishes the risk of facial nerve paralysis, a potential complication in traditional surgery, as it reduces the chances of damage to the facial nerve passing through the middle ear space. 

The implications of this 3D-printed middle ear bone surgery are significant, offering a new frontier in addressing hearing loss and providing hope for patients with various underlying causes of middle ear dysfunction. 


“3D technology is allowing us to do things we never thought we could,” he said. 


SOURCE: blackhistory.com 

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