South African surgeon, Dr Mashudu Tshifularo became the first surgeon in the world to successfully cure deafness using 3D technology.
Dr Mashudu Tshifularo is a South African otolaryngologist and ENT surgeon born on June 18, 1964, in the rural village of Mbahela outside Thohoyandou, in Venda, South Africa.
This incredible milestone was achieved in 2019 at the University of Pretoria and Steve Biko Academic Hospital when the South African-based doctor and his team of medics used innovative 3D technology to print the bones that make up the middle ear (hammer, anvil, stirrup and the ossicles) and successfully implanted the model into a trauma patient.
“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 said, according to Good Things Guy.
Mashudu Tshifularo was born in Mbahela, a small village in Venda, South Africa, on June 18, 1964. He comes from the Venda tribe, who has lived in South Africa for centuries. His father, Zacharia Thanyani Tshifularo, was a herder who struggled to care for his family; he is the third child of his parents’ marriage.
Mashudu attended Mbilwi Secondary School in Simbasa, Limpopo, and matriculated there. He subsequently continued his schooling at the University of Natal, where he began his medical profession in 1990 at Tshilidzini Hospital.
Mashudu has always wanted to be a doctor since he was a child. Despite being born into poverty, he fought hard both physically and academically to achieve his aspirations, and now he has broken a global record by becoming not only the first black medical doctor but also the first medical doctor in the world to treat deafness using 3D technology.
Tshifularo’s 3D-printed middle-ear replacement operation is not his first historical achievement in medicine. In 2008, he created history by devising a surgical procedure that allowed for a bloodless endoscope-assisted tonsillectomy, the world’s first.
Tshifularo, South Africa’s first Black ENT expert, has spent his time at the University of Pretoria educating more Black South African ENT professionals than any other school in the country. “Our future is in innovation towards excellent, internationally recognised solutions. Our aims are to improve safety and efficiency and to reduce costs in our communities as the field of ENT progresses,” Tshifularo told Good Things Guy.
His medical accomplishments have been extensively recognised both in his own nation and around the world. At the 2019 Health Excellence Awards in November 2019, he received the Global Excellence Award for Excellence in Medical Research.
Dr. Mashudu Tshifularo’s scientific study employing 3D technology to heal deafness has resulted in other medical discoveries and studies that will assist individuals in overcoming different types of medical problems.
His accomplishment has solidified the belief among his top peers worldwide that he is one of the world’s most accomplished ENT surgeons as well as an international medical star. As a result, he received the Hamilton Naki Award at the 2019 NRF Prizes, in addition to other awards and recognitions.