New York, April 17: Believe it or not! A 19-year-old woman in the US who lost her ear to a dog attack got it back with the help of a few leeches.
The dog mauling left the woman with a small laceration on her arm and her left ear entirely torn off.
Stephen Sullivan, a plastic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital, operated upon the girl’s ear and re-attached the torn ear using a novel technique, media reports said.
Though the artery brought fresh blood to the girl’s reattached ear, they could not find a vein to drain blood back to the body.
So they turned to leeches.
“The body is very efficient at making new arteries and veins, so the leeches are temporary,” Sullivan was quoted as saying in LiveScience.
They act as temporary drainage for the ear while the ear makes its own new veins, Sullivan added.
For over two weeks, the woman recovered in the hospital with leeches attached to her left ear, draining away deoxygenated blood.
In the meantime, the ear grew its own veins to drain the reattached tissue.
The report appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.