Immediately after the transplant the tip of the nose
appeared chalk-white and started to change colour after a
few hours. Therefore, cold compressions were made and 20
leeches were applied to the surrounding area to soften the
developing inflammation, especially around the bridge of
Today, leeches ("Hirudo medicinalis") are again being used in medicine, and are especially helpful when reattaching small multi-blood-vessel parts, like ears. In 2004, in fact, the FDA classified leeches as a medical device, the first of its kind: alive.
Live Science reports:
Leech saliva is made up of a potent cocktail of more than 30 different proteins that, among other things, helps to numb pain, reduce swelling and keep blood flowing.
In a recent paper published in the journal Pain, Dr. Andreas Michalsen and his colleagues demonstrate that a treatment of 2-3 locally applied leeches lessened pain in the knees of women suffering from osteoarthritis more effectively than a 30-day course of topical diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Let's hear it for the leech!