Leeches do have modern uses, however, especially in plastic surgery. Accumulated blood under a wound lifts the tissue and prevents it from attaching. In most cases, we insert surgical drains to allow this old blood to come out. However, surgical drains, themselves, can leave unsightly scars.
Accumulated blood (hematoma) is also a reservoir for infection. By attaching these little creatures instead of a drain, the blood will be painlessly sucked out of the wound, reducing infection and improving the cosmetic outcome. Leeches have been successfully used by surgeons who have reattached amputated fingers or toes. ENTs have attached them to outer ears that have been traumatized, thus preventing a cauliflower ear deformity.
Now, if someone discovers a lipo-leech that sucks fat out of overweight people, I will be first in line. And, I will even become a breeder; perhaps start my own leech-o-suction clinic, Demi Moore said.
There is so much quackery out there in the world, that I can't even believe it. One of my old physician colleagues once traveled to Czechoslovakia in the 70's to get injections of sheep embryos that were purported to promote longevity. Someone really pulled the wool over his eyes! One of my old patients read that bee stings cure arthritis, so rather than pay to get this unproven treatment; he just caught his own bees and tried to get them to sting him in the shoulder. The bees, of course, did not know that he had arthritis in his shoulder, so they stung him repeatedly in the hand.
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