Skip to content

    Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Maggots May Help Heal Hard-to-Treat Wounds

    Study Shows Maggots Heal Leg Sores in Diabetes Patients

    Cost of Treatment

    About 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S. -- 8.3% of the population -- have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. In 2006, about 65,700 lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.

    Medical-grade maggots are fly larvae grown in a hygienic lab so they are germ-free, says Catherine Bennett, PhD, head of the School of Health and Social Development at the Deakin University Australia in Burwood, Australia. She moderated the session at which the findings were presented.

    "It's obviously quite a process," she says.

    For the study, Eron used larvae of the green bottle fly, purchased from Monarch Labs for about $100 for a two-day cycle. Total treatment cost on average for five cycles: $500.

    In contrast, it costs up to $10,000 to treat an uninfected foot ulcer in a person with diabetes; up to $50,000 if amputation is needed, Eron says.

    In addition to cost, the main advantage of maggot therapy is it "gets us around the problem of antibiotic resistance," Bennett tells WebMD.

    While the treatment appeared safe and effective in this small study, larger, well-designed trials are needed to convince patients as well as doctors, she says.

    These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz