Leeches Are Now FDA-Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a French company to sell leeches as medical devices. The company, Ricarimpex SAS, which has bred leeches for 150 years, runs a certified facility that tracks each lot of medicinal leeches--bloodsucking aquatic animals that live in fresh water. Leeches can help heal skin grafts by removing blood pooled under the graft and restore blood circulation in blocked veins by removing pooled blood. They have been used as an alternative treatment to blood-letting and amputation for several thousand years. Today they are used in medicine throughout the world as tools in skin grafts and reattachment surgery. While leeches are a somewhat well known treatment method, you may not yet be familiar with maggot therapy, which can be used for wound care.

Washington Times June 29, 2004

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