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Reappraisal and updated review of maggot debridement therapy in chronic lower extremity ulcers

Int J Dermatol. 2023 Mar 7. doi: 10.1111/ijd.16619. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Dating back to the mid-1500s, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) has been a viable treatment modality for chronic wounds. In early 2004, the sterile larvae of Lucilia sericata received FDA approval for medical marketing for neuropathic, venous, and pressure ulcers, traumatic or surgical wounds, and nonhealing wounds that have not responded to standard care. However, it currently remains an under-utilized therapy. The proven efficacy of MDT begs the question if this treatment modality should be considered as a first-line option for all or a subset of chronic lower extremity ulcers.

OBJECTIVE: This article aims to address the history, production, and evidence of MDT and discuss future considerations for maggot therapy in the healthcare field.

METHODS: A literature search using the PubMed database was conducted using keywords, such as wound debridement, maggot therapy, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers, among others.

RESULTS: MDT reduced short-term morbidity in non-ambulatory patients with neuroischemic diabetic ulcers and comorbidity with peripheral vascular disease. Larval therapy was associated with statistically significant bioburden reductions against both Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Faster time to debridement was achieved when chronic venous or mixed venous and arterial ulcers were treated with maggot therapy versus hydrogels.

CONCLUSIONS: The literature supports the use of MDT in decreasing the significant costs of treating chronic lower extremity ulcers, with emphasis on those of diabetic origin. Additional studies with global standards for reporting outcomes are necessary to substantiate our results.

PMID:36880424 | DOI:10.1111/ijd.16619

By Nevin Manimala

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