Treating with Leeches

FDA approval of leeches recognizes treatments already happening

People may think the treatment is worse than the disease, but doctors say leeches can be a valuable aid in helping some patients. The US Food and Drug Administration this week approved the marketing of leeches as medical devices. University of Cincinnati plastic surgeon John Kitzmiller says he already uses leeches "a couple times a year." He says they help in cases of reattachment, when veins aren't available to the injured area to help blood flow away and allow healing. Another surgeon at Cincinnati Children's Hospital says he used leeches to help a child whose lip had been bitten off in a dog attack. Doctor Christopher Gordon says the child was kept under sedation and the family was quote - "kind of weirded out."