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Emergency Medical Minute


Apr 19, 2022

Contributor: Chris Holmes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Maggots were discovered as a therapy to help wound healing in WWI, but this fell out of favor after the discovery of penicillin
  • One study from Israel used maggots in treating diabetic foot wound with positive results but notable patient discomfort
  • Maggots debride tissue, kill MRSA, promote angiogenesis, and promote fibroblast migration to lay down new tissue
  • While maggots may be very useful in wound healing, the reality of the therapy may make patients very uncomfortable


Gilead L, Mumcuoglu KY, Ingber A. The use of maggot debridement therapy in the treatment of chronic wounds in hospitalised and ambulatory patients. J Wound Care. 2012 Feb;21(2):78, 80, 82-85. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2012.21.2.78. PMID: 22584527.

Mohd Zubir MZ, Holloway S, Mohd Noor N. Maggot Therapy in Wound Healing: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(17):6103. Published 2020 Aug 21. doi:10.3390/ijerph17176103

McCaughan, Dorothy et al. “Patients' perceptions and experiences of venous leg ulceration and their attitudes to larval therapy: an in-depth qualitative study.” Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy vol. 18,4 (2015): 527-41. doi:10.1111/hex.12053

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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