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J R Soc Med. 2000 February; 93(2): 72–74.
PMCID: PMC1288068

Larva therapy in wound management.


The use of maggots for wound debridement has a long history and has lately gained ground in several countries. We collected prospective data to examine the current use of larva therapy (LT) in the UK. Quantitative information was collected on 70 patients treated in nine hospitals. LT is used primarily to treat leg ulcers and generally involves three applications of larvae at two to three day intervals. This method is judged effective in wound debridement and promotes the growth of granulation tissue. Wound exudate, odour, infection and pain are all reduced by the treatment. Adverse reactions are infrequent but include pain, bleeding, pyrexia and influenza-like symptoms. Prevention of hospital admission and surgery, reduced need for antibiotics and reduced hospital stay are all identified as outcomes of LT. The nurse practitioners who used LT believed it to have an important role in wound management. A randomized clinical trial, comparing LT with other debriding agents, is required for evaluation of cost effectiveness.

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