Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Surgeons | Wound Healing | LiveScience

Aah, the French:

The idea of putting maggots into open flesh may sound repulsive, but such a therapy might be a quick way to clean wounds, a new study from France suggests.

via Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Surgeons | Wound Healing | LiveScience.

I kid. I think this is a good idea, and it’s natures’ way of saying ‘cleanup on aisle three’. Patients not infrequently will be brought to the ED with awful, non-healing wounds infested with maggots.

We typically kill them off, more because a) the staff is completely grossed out and b) if you’re living at home and have maggots in your wounds, let’s just say your personal hygiene is deeply suspect. Rank, in fact. Needs a decon level bad.

However, there is a legitimate role for biological wound cleaning; I have a WWII surgical book with a chapter in it on growing your own sterile maggots. It’s not an ER thing, but it’s yet another tool in the armamentarium of bad wounds.


  1. whitecap nurse says:

    The last patient we had with maggots took about an hour to soak them all out of the foot wound. They just kept coming. The swarms of lice on the same patient were worse though -truly no skin visible(except the face)under a crawling carpet of bugs. Thank god for our ER techs.

  2. When used under medical conditions they only eat the dead skin etc .

  3. Hospital Buyer says:

    I’m posting under a pseudonym so as not to be seen as biased towards one of my vendors, but I work in hospital supply and logistics and ordering leeches and maggots for the pharmacy falls under my work queue. It’s so awesome, I get to gross EVERYONE out. And medical grade maggots are fairly reasonably priced, too.

    I think my favorite part, however, is the confinement dressing we use is under the trademark name “Creature Comforts”.

  4. Greg Mogel says:

    I find the maggots are sometime more collegial as well.

  5. Collegiate says:

    I think this is awesome. If they do a better job, are sterile and are cheaper, why not? The problem is going to be overcoming the natural fear of anything that crawls and creeps. I doubt that many would allow this practice, but it would be very interesting to try it in a few hospitals and see what percentage would take the option. I would like to think that I would, but I’m not entirely sure that I could overcome the fear. I would, however, take video of the procedure.

  6. Jim in Texas says:

    When I was a junior enlisted survival instructor we routinely taught this to the student pilots as a way to clean wounds in a survival situation. It was used mostly to gross them out.