Chronic wounds are a challenge for modern health care. A basic principle of treatment is the removal of sloughy, necrotic, devitalized tissue to prevent wound infection and delayed healing. Biosurgery (syn. maggot or larval therapy) is a promising adjunct to the whole spectrum of topical treatment methods, in particular for debridement. The term 'biosurgery' describes the use of living maggots on wounds to remove devitalized tissue, decrease the risk of infection and improve wound healing. The present paper gives a brief review of history, entomology, biochemistry and medical indications of biosurgery and the practical handling of maggots. We also provide some clinical data from the literature and our own experience in a wound care unit. Biosurgery is an effective and safe treatment option for debridement and disinfection.