Maggots, especially which infest a wound, are associated with various bad things, including infection and slower wound healing. However, numerous researches are done recently and found out that maggots might possess a medical benefit. These eggs of a fly are proven to have a medically-approved wound cleaning property. This maggot therapy has even been implemented by a number of wound care doctor, clinics, and hospitals in the US.
What kind of maggots used in medical wound cleaning?
Although maggots possess the properties of cleaning debris from a wound, medically-approved maggots, rather than ordinary ones are required to do medical wound care. Maggots which are used a medical device are provided by professional maggot providers, which raise the larvae from sterilized fly eggs. These eggs, however, need to be prevented from crawling off and completing their phase of life into adult flies. To make sure this thing, maggots which are going to be used medically are placed in tea-bag like packages, which will be applied directly onto the wound.
How maggots clean a wound
Since 2004, FDA has approved a recent method of wound cleaning employing sterilized fly larvae or best known as maggots. The therapy is coined as Maggot Debridement Therapy, a wound care therapy which involve the use of live maggots to clean wounds which are difficult to heal. This method in fact, imitate ancient methods of wound care—cleaning injuries and preventing infection using maggots. There are couple of major theories of how maggots help cleaning a wound.
- Maggots placed on surgical incisions clear more dead tissues than the standard surgical debridement performed by doctors using scalpel or scissors. Maggots feed on dead or infected tissues, but leave healthy tissues alone. This debridement is what needed for a wound to close.
- Penetration of maggots on an open wound is also beneficial in that these sterilized fly eggs excretes an enzyme which dissolves dead tissues in a wound. This is an effective method, since this enzyme does not dissolve healthy tissues and therefore, is beneficial for removing damaged tissues and promote next phase of wound healing.
- Maggots clean the wound by excreting an enzyme which is beneficial in inducing the immune system to invade pathogens. Hence, penetrating a wound with mesh bag-contained maggots will release natural immune system from the body to combat bacteria and other pathogens which delay the entire wound healing.
Benefits of wound cleaning using maggots
Maggots are put into account in today’s wound cleaning as there are numerous researches finding out that a lot of pathogens residing in wounds are antibiotic resistant. Hence, natural secretion from sterilized maggots is helpful in combating these pathogens. Many patients find maggots to be useful and helpful for cleaning their wounds and promote more proper healing. Some of the main benefits of maggot penetration in wound cleaning include:
- Promoting faster and less painful wound debridement after performed surgeries. Post-surgery wound debridement is commonly done by removing dead tissues which are potential in inhibiting wound healing. Doctors usually perform this debridement using scalpel or scissors and thus, the process can be long and painful. With maggot penetration, wound debridement is slightly faster and less painful, which is beneficial for both the doctor and patient.
- Some people cannot receive anesthetic and thus, they are unable to undergo surgeries requiring anesthetic. In this case, wound care can still be performed by performing maggot debridement therapy.
- People with diabetes commonly have a problem with wound healing. They might experience several re-bleeding and reopened wounds during the process. Maggots will be helpful in performing wound cleaning for diabetic persons, since it feeds on dead tissues without causing new wounds which inhibits healing process.
Although has been used in ancient time for wound healing, maggot therapy is quite new for modern medication and treatments. Some studies find out that maggots can be an alternative to handle antibiotic-resistant pathogens. However, many patients are still unwilling or hesitate to try this method, because of the gross factor of maggot therapy. This fly egg has long been associated with unhygienic environment, so that many people have some doubts of its medical function. However, some strong patients have proven the benefits of maggot penetration for cleaning their severe wounds.