Profile: Mashudu Tshifularo, the first physician to cure deafness through surgery.

October 10, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

Mashudu Tshifularo is a South African educator and medical specialist. He led the world's first team to use 3D printed bone implants for reconstructive middle ear in 2019 at the University of Pretoria and Steve Biko University Hospital. As a lay pastor, he has also published several books.

Tshifularo was born on June 18, 1964 in South Africa the third son of Florah Tshinovhea Tshifularo and Zacharia Thanyani Tshifularo. He grew up as a shepherd in the rural village of Mbahela near Thohoyandou, in Venda, South Africa. At the age of 13, Tshifularo knew he would be a doctor. He was married to Samdika Blessings Tshifularo and they have six children including their adopted children.

He enrolled in secondary school Mbilwi and after studying at the University of Natal he started his career as a doctor at hospital Tshilidzini in 1990. Since 1995 he has been a teacher and head of the department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pretoria and Chief Specialist at MEDUNSA (currently Sefako Makgatho University of Health Sciences). He was named in 2000 as the youngest and only black professor of ENT in South Africa. His medical interests include otology, rhinology and pediatric ENT.

Using a 3D printer, the Tshifularo printer implants which replaces the ossicles: the hammer (malleus), the anvil (incus) and the stapes (stapes) during reconstructive surgery of the middle ear, or tympanoplasty, which are more affordable compared to traditional titanium implants.

Tshifularo is the Head of the Department of Ear, Nose, Throat, Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pretoria, and began developing this technology during his doctoral studies. He and his team at Steve Biko University Hospital in Pretoria performed the first transplant on March 13, 2019. The endoscopic procedures lasted approximately 2 hours. The first patient was a 40-year-old man with accidental traumatic injury and the other was a 62-year-old man born with a middle ear problem and a history of unsuccessful procedures.

The professor is currently busy with his second doctorate at the University of Pretoria. He holds a number of patents for middle ear implants and has published extensively in a number of leading peer-reviewed journals. He devoted himself to the training of students from disadvantaged groups.

Source: NRF, WikiPedia

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