SA professor makes history, performs world's 1st 3D inner-ear surgery

SA professor makes history, performs world's 1st 3D inner-ear surgery

- Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria performed the world's first middle-ear surgery using 3D technology

- Thabo Moshiliwa, 40, and 62-year-old Simon Bohale were the first two people to have the surgery

- Prof Tshifularo revealed the surgery is a long-lasting solution to hearing loss and it is a more affordable procedure

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Prof Tshifularo, who is the Head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Tuks, was the brains behind the breakthrough surgical procedure.

The Citizen reported that the procedure is a long-term solution to conductive hearing loss. Making it even more impressive, the surgery can be done on anyone, from adults to babies.

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The surgery was performed at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on Wednesday. gathered Thabo Moshiliwa, 40, was the world's first recipient of the 3D-printed middle ear bone.

It was reported that the surgery on Moshiliwa took an hour and a half to complete since trauma to his ear complicated operation.

However, it was revealed the 40-year-old's surgery was in fact a success.

The second patient, 62-year-old Simon Bohale, has an underdeveloped middle ear. His occupation as a welder also contributed to his hearing loss and the conditioned worsened in 1983. He said:

“I am excited. I’ve had two surgeries before but was not 100% okay. I can’t wait to hear people when they speak to me.”

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Taking about his procedure, Prof Tshifularo explained they take a scan before recreating the bone. He added the idea is to create the same "size of the bone position, shape, weight and length".

Prof Tshifularo added the implant works in the same manner as a hip replacement - a procedure which he credited as his inspiration.

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

The Tuks professor revealed they use titanium for this procedure because it is biocompatible. And, because they use an endoscopic approach, the surgery is relatively quick with little scaring.

Prof Tshifularo said they chose the state hospital because they wanted to help people. The procedure is also set to be affordable, which is music to our ears.

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South Africans were impressed with the procedure and they took to social media to honour Prof Tshifularo and his team.

Rowan Sewchurran commented: "What a boss."
Tamarin Lloyd wrote: "How do I go about seeing a dr at Steve Biko who could possibly help me in this way. This would be amazing to be able to hear in both ears."
Elizabeth Swartz added: "So proud of our father and leader."

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