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That might sound terrifying, but don’t worry, it’s not a nasty one. ‘Leeches are nowadays used in reconstructive surgery because they release a substance known as herotin, which increases the blood supply to the part of the body the leech is placed on,’ explains Dr. Rahul Tandon, reconstructive surgeon at Burjeel Hospital. ‘It basically acts as a blood thinner. When we do microsurgery to rejoin fingers to the hand, for example, a leech is sometimes used to increase the blood supply. In certain circumstances it’s more commonly used, for example if the patient is diabetic or hypertensive. Wherever microsurgery work occurs, it is certainly something that is always kept in mind when working on such cases.’
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