Larval (Maggot) Tx

Maggot therapy for wound debridement

Researchers at the Universitaire de Caen, in France, studied the effects of bagged larvae on wound debridement compared with conventional treatment.

First, the details.

  • 119 patients with a nonhealing, sloughy wound 40 cm2 or smaller, less than 2 cm deep, and an ankle brachial index of 0.8 or higher.
    • Ankle brachial index is a test done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.
  • During a 2-week hospital stay, patients received maggot debridement therapy or conventional treatment.
  • At discharge, conventional dressings were applied and a follow-up visit occurred at day 30.
  • The percentage of slough in wounds at day 15 was measured.

And, the results.

  • There was a significant difference in slough between groups at day 8 (55% in the maggot debridement therapy group and 67% in the control group).
  • The average percentage of slough at day 15 was 55% in the MDT group and 54% in the control group — not a significant difference.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Although maggot debridement therapy shows no significant benefit at day 15 compared with conventional treatment, debridement by maggot debridement therapy is significantly faster and occurs during the first week of treatment. Because there is no benefit in continuing the treatment after 1 week, another type of dressing should be used after 2 or 3 applications of maggot debridement therapy.”

Maggots work because they eat dead tissue (debridement) within the wound, which can promote infection. This treatment seems to help reduce the risk of infection after surgery because the larvae are thought to secrete substances that fight infection.

Pain at the wound site is the most common complaint. In this abstract, no information related to safety was reported.

12/26/11 20:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.