People with diabetes can develop skin lesions that may be hard to treat. Because of poor circulation, these wounds can become infected and are slow to heal. Doctors go to heroic measures to treat them. That can sometimes involve surgery, but the process can be painful and the skin problems can recur. In the most extreme cases, these wounds may lead to amputation.
Now, doctors in Hawaii report that they have had success with maggot therapy for diabetic wounds. The maggots are extremely effective at removing dead cells and encouraging the growth of healthy tissue. The physicians treated 37 patients with long-lasting lesions. Up to 100 maggots were used on each wound. Almost two thirds experienced definite benefit. The infection disappeared, the dead tissue was removed and fresh connective tissue, which promoted healing, formed in the wound. Even MRSA infections improved with maggot therapy. Before this approach can become widespread, more rigorous studies will be needed. This unusual approach seems to be a rediscovery of an ancient healing tradition.
[Interscience Conference on Anti-Microbial Agents and Chemotherapy, Sept. 19, 2011]