Over the last decade, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) has been recognized by many clinicians as a potential adjunct to conventional therapy, and many patients with non healing, chronic ulcers have been treated. Numerous case reports and case series have described the successful use of MDT in a variety of ulcers. However, comparative clinical trials and in particular randomized controlled trials investigating the efficacy of MDT are sparse. A systematic search in the literature showed three randomized clinical trials and five non randomized studies evaluating the efficacy of sterile Lucilia sericata applied on ulcers with various aetiologies. Of these, seven studies had debridement and/or healing as an outcome variable. When evaluating maggots as debriding agents, the studies report MDT as being significantly more effective than hydrogel or a mixture of conventional therapy modalities, including hydrocolloid, hydrogel and saline moistened gauze. However, the design of the studies was suboptimal, with important differences in the use of other therapies, such as compression, that may influence both debridement and healing between the compared groups, as well as inappropriately short follow-up times. The quality of the studies therefore makes it difficult to conclude that MDT shortens healing time. The poor quality of the data used for evaluating the efficacy of MDT highlights the need for more and better designed investigations.
© 2012 The Authors. International Wound Journal © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Medicalhelplines.com Inc.