Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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 REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 65-71

Clinical uses of the medicinal leech: A practical review


1 Department of Surgery, Division of Critical Care, Trauma, and Burn, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
3 St Luke's Regional Level I Trauma Center, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence Address:
SPA Stawicki
Department of Surgery, Division of Critical Care, Trauma, and Burn, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
USA
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DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.74297

PMID: 21206115

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The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, is an excellent example of the use of invertebrates in the treatment of human disease. Utilized for various medical indications since the ancient times, the medicinal leech is currently being used in a narrow range of well-defined and scientifically-grounded clinical applications. Hirudotherapy is most commonly used in the setting of venous congestion associated with soft tissue replantations and free flap-based reconstructive surgery. This is a comprehensive review of current clinical applications of hirudotherapy, featuring a comprehensive search of all major medical search engines (i.e. PubMed, Google Scholar, ScientificCommons) and other cross-referenced sources. The authors focus on indications, contraindications, practical application/handling of the leech, and therapy-related complications.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
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