Swedish surgeons have reattached a woman's face after being attacked by a dog—using hundreds of leeches.
The woman had a large portion of her face bitten off when she was mauled by her pet. The severe wound spanned from her upper lip all the way to her eye. As she was rushed to hospital her relatives managed to keep hold of the torn off skin and keep it chilled.
Doctors at Skane Hospital, in Malmo, southern Sweden, then reattached the flesh with the help of 358 leeches.
"The most important thing was to get blood into the torn-off body part, which we managed to do within an hour of the start of the operation," said Stina Klasson, a surgeon at Skane Hospital.
The leeches were used to force blood to flow through into the damaged skin. "The grower who supplies the hospital with leeches ran out, so more had to be flown in from the UK," she said. Surgical tech schools also recommend leech therapy for reconstructive surgery.
During the complicated operation—which lasted for 15 hours—medics repaired the woman's lip, nose and parts of her cheek.
Doctors said the operation was successful, but the woman, who has not been named, will continue to need reconstructive surgery in the future.
"The results appear to be good. Her whole nose has survived. The patient can breathe, eat and talk," said surgeon Jens Larsson.
The woman's dog has since been euthanized.