The technique, which has been used for centuries, has been reintroduced into modern medicine by doctors and tissue viability specialists who have found that maggots are able to cleanse wounds much more rapidly than conventional dressings.
There are now more than 1,000 therapists using maggot therapy in the United States, Sherman said. A treatment supply of medicinal maggots costs less than $100, but can save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in medical, surgical and hospital costs .
Calliphoridae, or blowfies, are most often used for maggot therapy ; they are applied to an open wound at a concentration of five to 10 per cm2. Maggots are placed in a “cage-like dressing” and left on the wound for 48 to 72 hours, Sherman said.
In the United States, 70 vials of medical grade maggots are distributed each week to wound care doctors, clinics and hospitals . The idea of putting maggots into open flesh may sound repulsive, but such a therapy might be a quick way to clean wounds, a new study from France suggests.
Maggots are efficient consumers of dead tissue. They munch on rotting flesh, leaving healthy tissue practically unscathed. Physicians in Napoleon’s army used the larvae to clean wounds.
New research published in the October issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases has found that maggots are useful in treating deep wounds without increasing the risk of further infection. Maggots work because they eat dead tissue (debridement) within the wound , which can promote infection.
Maggot therapy. Your doctor puts maggots from fly larvae (specially bred in a lab so they’re sterile) on your wound, where they eat dead and infected tissue without hurting healthy tissue. They also help fight infection and speed healing by releasing chemicals that kill bacteria.
Accidentally ingesting maggots does not generally cause any lasting harm . However, if a person has ingested maggots through eating spoiled food, they may be at risk of food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning can range from very mild to serious, and they can sometimes last for several days.
Pain and skin irritation are the most commonly reported side ef- fects. Caution is advised when exposed loops of bowel or blood vessels contain necrotic elements, as the larval secretions may dissolve the devitalized tissue, resulting in the development of an intestinal fistula or hemorrhage.
Maggots , otherwise known as fly larvae, are, of course, famous for eating the flesh of dead animals, and in this they perform a vital, if unglamorous, cleansing function in nature. But also – less often – maggots can infest and feed on the flesh of live animals and humans , a phenomenon known as myiasis.
Wound myiasis requires debridement with irrigation to eliminate the larvae from the wound or surgical removal. Application of chloroform, chloroform in light vegetable oil, or ether, with removal of the larvae under local anesthesia, has been advocated for wound myiasis.
The main purpose of maggot therapy is to remove dead skin from the wound site, which can impede the wound healing process. The maggots not only dissolve the dead skin with their digestive enzymes to debride the wound by also disinfect as they work.
You will want to use a brush and soapy water to help kill any remaining larvae and bacteria. Dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner will work best for this job.
The maggots that cause myiasis can live in the stomach and intestines as well as the mouth. This can cause serious tissue damage and requires medical attention. Myiasis is not contagious . Symptoms of myiasis in your gastrointestinal tract include stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So efficient are they at eating, a young maggot can clean up a wound within just two to three days. Maggots do more than just eat away dead flesh. We have found that collections of maggot secretions (their “spit and sweat”), can kill several species of bacteria .