South Africa has again pioneered in a world’s first surgical procedure. The Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, conducted a middle ear transplant using 3D technology.

In 1967 Dr Chris Barnard performed the world’s first human to human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

Going under the knife in this ground-breaking medical procedure, experts believe they may have found an answer to conductive hearing loss. These middle ear problems are caused by birth defects, infections, trauma or metabolic disease. Millions of people with hearing impairments will benefit.

Professor Mashudu Tshifularo from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences says the procedure will help a lot of people and will be affordable.

“It’s a new technology, a new development which can be used in any patient. Sometimes, if we take a CT scan or X-ray of your brain, we can see the bones that are broken or damaged and recreate them exactly as they are. So it will help a lot and it will be affordable.”

The surgery can even be performed on newborns and carries fewer risks. The surgical procedure has only been carried out in South Africa and Professor Tshifularo says that they are very excited about being pioneers.

“I think the main basis is that we are excited that is the pioneering is the first in the world, so even if the rest of the world will come, but they’ll always acknowledge that we started and we’ll always be two, three steps ahead of them.”

While hearing loss is a natural part of ageing, it could also occur as a result of accident, disease or infection. But with professor Tshifularo’s pioneering surgical procedure, all these could be managed.