View Full Version : Leeches and maggots in medical uses


aimeeandbeatles
Sep 22, 2008, 02:07 PM
Today in school I was looking at the biology textbook during break. (I don't socialize like normal people:p)
And it said that sometimes when reattaching body parts that were ripped off, blood can pool up and slow down the healing. And that some doctors were now using leeches to help with that. Also, I think if they get a skin graft, to speed up the circulation thingy. I can't explain it too well. But it's painless.

It also said some doctors also use maggots to clean up gangrene, as maggots only eat dead cells.

I assume the leeches and maggots are sterilized first, although I'm not sure how they'd do that.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you do it?

I think it'd be kind of creepy, but I'd do it if I had to. I could just close my eyes :lol:

GoodGame
Sep 22, 2008, 08:48 PM
Leeches were a traditional kind of medicine 100's of years ago. The risk was losing too much blood, and the fact that often the treatment really wasn't warranted, just popular.

No comment on the maggots, though I've seen some disgusting pictures of homeless dudes with both gangrene and maggots. When they cleaned him up, there really wasn't much left of his leg that he could use it.

Onionsoilder
Sep 22, 2008, 09:50 PM
Well, maggots are fly larve, so they can't reproduce. They need to grow up into adult flies to do that. Unless you mean something else by sterile.

Brighteye
Sep 23, 2008, 04:27 AM
Maggots are indeed good for a wound if you lack normal methods, and are rather discriminating about eating good flesh, so they can help prevent infection and promote healing even if not made sterile (by which you mean bacteria-free).
I'd not heard of leeches being used, but again I suppose that if you lacked the equipment to do it yourself you might well benefit from a leech.

Eran of Arcadia
Sep 23, 2008, 02:11 PM
I have heard of leeches for limb/digit reattachment, certainly a lot better than using them to cause massive blood loss.

Masquerouge
Sep 23, 2008, 05:31 PM
I believe that leeches and maggots are very cheap, very efficient methods to address very specific issues.

Leeches produce an anti-coagulant so that they can suck up your blood, and as such they can help blood circulation.

Maggots only eat dead tissues and are very good at cleaning wounds.

Now I should go into one of my favorite rants against society's obsession with sterilization, but I just don't have the heart for it anymore. I'm just waiting for the uber-resistant strains that evolved because of that anti-natural obsession to kill us all, it will be easier.

History_Buff
Sep 23, 2008, 06:34 PM
Maggots are very good for fending off necrosis, and I think medical suspicion of that goes back at least as far as WWI. Doctors were noticing that the amputation rate of wounded soldiers was much lower if the wound got infested with maggots.

They are gaining popularity in the medical world, as they are much more precise than any surgeon could be. Also very good for field situations where no trained medical help might be available. You don't really need to sterilize them either, so long as you didn't just pluck them from a pile of feces. Then a quick washing might be in order. In hospitals I assumes they're just grown in a clean environment.

Eran of Arcadia
Sep 23, 2008, 08:53 PM
I remember reading that the Australian soldiers on the Kokoda Trail at least knew to leave the maggots in, and that was 1942.

Phlegmak
Sep 24, 2008, 01:39 PM
Today in school I was looking at the biology textbook during break. (I don't socialize like normal people:p)
And it said that sometimes when reattaching body parts that were ripped off, blood can pool up and slow down the healing. And that some doctors were now using leeches to help with that. Also, I think if they get a skin graft, to speed up the circulation thingy. I can't explain it too well. But it's painless.

It also said some doctors also use maggots to clean up gangrene, as maggots only eat dead cells.

I assume the leeches and maggots are sterilized first, although I'm not sure how they'd do that.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you do it?

I think it'd be kind of creepy, but I'd do it if I had to. I could just close my eyes :lol:
I've read articles on both and both are fine.

Yeekim
Sep 25, 2008, 07:18 AM
What about stitching wounds with ants?:crazyeye:

http://www.asktheexterminator.com/ants/Bullet_Ant.shtml
Tribal peoples of Central America also use bullet ants in their cultures. They can be used as an aid against rheumatism. Bullet ants are used to seal wounds. The ants have strong mandibles, or jaws are placed over an open wound. The ant’s mandibles seal the wound tightly, and the saliva of the bullet ant provides an extra layer of protection for the wound.
Dunno how reliable the source is, however...

Brighteye
Sep 25, 2008, 07:28 AM
Ant jaws are fine. It's just harder to get hold of industrial quantities.

Yeekim
Sep 25, 2008, 07:35 AM
Ant jaws are fine. It's just harder to get hold of industrial quantities.

Ants tend to live in large colonies I hear :D