On Thursday, a South African medical team announced that it had fitted “transplants of small middle-ear bones  made using 3D printing”. This is reportedly “a world first“. The latest operation was performed on Wednesday at Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria. It involved a “35-year-old patient whose inner ear had been completely damaged in a car accident”.
This operation “may be the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle-ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases,” including in newborns, explained the University of Pretoria. “By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses,” said Professor Mashudu Tshifularo, who has supervised three of these transplants.
1] The middle ear is the part of the auditory system, located between the outer and inner ear. The middle-ear bones are made up of three ossicles: the hammer, anvil and stirrup, which transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear.