Leech Therapy Following Digital Replantation and Revascularization

Brent B. Pickrell, Michael C. Daly, Brian Freniere, James P. Higgins, Bauback Safa, Kyle R. Eberlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Venous congestion after digital replantation or revascularization threatens digit survival in the immediate postoperative period. External bloodletting, including leech therapy, provides a central role in salvage of the congested finger. Although there have been previous studies describing the initiation of leech therapy for digits experiencing venous insufficiency, few published articles and no consensus guidelines have discussed the weaning of leeches in the postoperative period. We review the current evidence behind leech therapy and offer a treatment algorithm based on available data and existing leech weaning protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Artery-only replantation
  • Hirudo medicinalis
  • digital amputation
  • hand reconstruction
  • leech therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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