Meet Dr. Mashudu Tshifularo, The South African Doctor To First Cure Deafness With 3D Tech

South African doctor Mashudu Tshifularo is an educator and medical specialist. He is credited with leading the first team in the world to surgically cure deafness through reconstructive middle ear implants in 2019 at the University of Pretoria and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

He was born in 1964 to Florah Tshinovhea Tshifularo and Zacharia Thanyani Tshifularo. He grew up as a herdsman in the rural village of Mbahela outside Thohoyandou, in Venda, South Africa. At the age of 13, Tshifularo knew he would be a medical doctor.

He attended the  Mbilwi Secondary School and got his training to work as a physician from the University of Natal. Since 1990, he has been a practicing physician and in 1995 he became a professor and began heading the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) at the University of Pretoria. He was appointed in 2000 as the youngest and only black professor of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) in South Africa.

Dr. Tshifularo during the surgery

In 2019, Dr Tshifularo and his team successfully pioneered a transplant of a patient’s middle ear to cure his deafness, making it the first in the world. The patient was a 35-year- old man who suffered hearing loss as a result of a car accident that damaged his inner ear. Using 3D technology, he was able to recreate the bones -the hammer, anvil  , stirrup, and the ossicles that make up the inner ear, replacing the damaged ones.

The operation was performed by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team from the University of Pretoria Faculty of Health at the Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria on March 13, 2019. The surgery was successfully completed in one and a half hours and was completed through endoscopy, a less invasive method of surgery.

Dr Tshifularo with other doctors

Professor Tshifularo’s first Ph.D. was focused on conductive hearing loss and through this, he came up with the idea of ​​using 3D technology to recreate any of the inner ear bones that may be damaged, restoring a patient’s hearing. His second PhD degree from the University of Pretoria forayed into the use of 3D printing technology. Today, 3D technology has proved to be extremely useful and needed in the medical industry.

Dr Tshifularo is the senior pastor and founder of the Christ Revealed Fellowship Church near Pretoria. He has authored several books in this ministry.