Leeches, it turns out, are particularly good at draining excess blood from surgically reattached or transplanted appendages. As microsurgeons tackle feats like reattaching hands, scalps and even faces, leeches have become indispensable. And maggots clean festering wounds that fail to heal, as among diabetics, better than almost anything else, although their use in the United States has been slight, in part because of squeamishness.
But neither leeches nor maggots have ever been subject to thorough regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. So the medical advisers are being asked to create general guidelines about how they should be safely grown, transported and sold.
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