The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    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

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