Leech Therapy

The use of leeches in medical treatment. Once used as an almost universal cure, leeches were largely abandoned by medicine but in the second half of the 20th century refound a role. That role is largely in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Leeches can assist, for example, in the reattachment of severed body parts such as a finger, hand, toe, leg, ear, nose or the scalp.

The surgeon usually has little difficult connecting the two ends of small arteries, since arteries are thick-walled and relatively simple to suture. However, veins are thin-walled, fragile, and difficult to suture. The surgeon may thus get blood flowing in the reattached arteries but not in the veins. With the venous circulation severely compromised, the blood going to the reattached body part becomes congested and stagnant. The reattached part turns blue and lifeless and is at risk of being lost. It is then that leeches are summoned to treat the threatening venous insufficiency, but only when there is adequate arterial flow.


Contemporary leech therapy was pioneered by the surgeons, M. Derganc and F. Zdravic, who published a paper in 1960 describing the use of leeches to assist in tissue flap surgery — surgery in which a flap of skin is freed or rotated from an adjacent body area to cover a defect or injury. Their rationale behind this use of leeches was based on a unique property of the leech bite, namely, the creation of a puncture wound that bleeds for hours. For information related to this property of leeches, click to see: Hirudin.

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Amount of Blood patient loose in Leech Threapy:

With a treatment with 8 leech the blutverlust for the patient is including to the Nachbluten with approx. 200 to 350 ml blood. “a small Egel sucks 2 – the quantity doubles itself 3 g, more largely to 30 g, on average by the postoperative hemorrhage. Generally one counts on an average value of 20 – is limited 30 g total blood loss per leech and to setting 4 – 12 copies in a meeting ”

Leech bite is more or less painless:
The bite of a leechs is felt by the patients like Brennesseln or mosquito passes. The bite of the leechs is not painful thus. By the histamine-similar substances it can come in the process of the treatment to easy itching, similarly as with an insect bite. The leech saliva is filled with a chemical that contains a painkiller, which stops you from feeling the bite. The saliva also has a chemical, which keeps the blood from clotting.

Leech Therapy is done on Patients with an unsatisfactory blood circulation:
Is by its blood-diluting and container-extending effect the leech the ideal Therapeut for blood circulation disturbances. With multiplicity of diseases there is a connection with an unsatisfactory blood circulation. Clearly on the hand all diseases lie with our container system are connected like Thrombose, cramp veins, Haemorrhoiden, cardiac infarct, impact accumulations, calcifying the containers, Tinnitus.
At the same time it could be stated that the leech therapy can cause an improvement also with pain. Positive effects could be determined with rheumatism, Arthrose, volume disk problems, pulling, bruises, muscular pains or muscle injuries.

How Leech Therapy is accomplished:
1. Wash hands.
2. Select appropriate personal protective equipment (gloves).
3. Cleanse area with normal saline soaked sterile gauze.
4. Apply leeches with gloved hand on tweezers.
5. Allow leech to attach large posterior end first and direct smaller head end to the desired site. ( Leeches can be loaded into an empty syringe without a plunger “rear end first” and the open end of syringe is placed over the desired site to ensure proper placement. )
6. Apply the other leeches if neseseary.
7. Monitor leeches until they fill with blood (10-20 minutes). Usually the leech falls off itself (if not use salt. Leeches do not like salt and will drop off)

Assistance if the leech once not to bite wants:
With certain site conditions leech bite more badly
*with cold skin
*with smokers
*with perfume-pure
*with older humans
Remedy is possible through warms up and cleans the skin. Further measures those are helpful the skin soften and the blood circulation promote. If the leech does not want to bite at all, there is the possibility the skin with a needle to puncture still.

Side Effects of Leech Therapy:
With adequate execution of the leech therapy and attention of all contraindications heavy side effects arise very rarely. Local reactions is possible in the proximity of the point of bite, also cycle weakness occurs relatively more frequently. During a cramp vein treatment with that the leech directly on the Vene is set, gives it naturally a longer postoperative hemorrhage phase. A longer postoperative hemorrhage can put on however at any time by an appropriate druckverbandes to be stopped.

Leeches are being used in The Treatment because:
Leeches can relieve blood pooling around a muscle or skin flap better than drugs or other treatments. They are used to keep blood flow in muscle, skin and fat tissue that has been surgically moved from one part of your body to another. These tissues are also called flaps .
Why is leech therapy is used instead of other medical treatment?
In some cases, leeches do a better job by removing pooled blood than any other medical therapy
What are the benefits of leech treatment?
The benefits of treatment are not only the amount of blood that the leech removes but the anti-blood clotting enzymes in their saliva that allow blood flow from the area where they have been

The biggest barrier to leech therapy:
It has been the reaction that people have when they are told about the possible use of leeches in their care. Many people are afraid of these creatures crawling on their body.

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