Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, a 35-year-old man will hear again after his ear was completely damaged in a car crash.

Doctors at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane have successfully completed the world’s first ever middle ear transplant, using 3D-printed middle ear bones.

Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, a 35-year-old man will fully hear again after his ear was damaged in a road accident.

Lead surgeon, Professor Mashudu Tshifularo explains that the patient’s hearing had been severely compromised because of the damage to the middle ear bones.

The man was involved in a motor vehicle accident and damaged all the bones in the middle ear.

Mashudu Tshifularo, Professor at the Faculty of Health – University of Pretoria

Professor Tshifularo, from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences, has spent 10 years investigating how to find the right prosthesis for this type of surgery.

He found that 3D technology was the best solution.

Two years ago, I started to see that 3D printing is the way to go. I met with some of my collaborators who agreed we can do this thing. Then the idea became real.

Mashudu Tshifularo, Professor at the Faculty of Health – University of Pretoria

The middle ear bones have been printed out of titanium and Professor Tshifularo foresees that the prosthesis will become accessible to everyone who needs it.