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NSW hospitals down to the last leech

A reconstructive surgeon has shared the fascinating science behind leech therapy, and how two leeches helped save a man’s fingers last week.

Professor Anand Deva explained how medically bred leeches can be used to help in microsurgery such as re-attaching fingers, or transferring tissue.

“The history goes back many centuries … but they’ve come under a bit of a resurgence in modern times, particularly in microsurgery which we do a fair bit of,” he told Deborah Knight.

“If for example, blood goes in, and blood can’t go out, then the digit will go dark blue and that’s when we say ‘bring in the leech’.”

He said there was a case last week where a patient had partially amputated fingers and it was discovered the “leech tanks” were empty, with a leech shortage across Australia.

“Thankfully we managed to secure the last two, and the patient is doing well,” he said.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty