Maggot therapy for treating pressure ulcers in spinal cord injury patients

J Spinal Cord Med. 1995 Apr;18(2):71-4. doi: 10.1080/10790268.1995.11719382.


For centuries, maggot therapy (MT) has been recognized as an aid to wound healing. By including live blowfly larvae in wound dressings, earlier physicians noted thorough debridement which hastened wound healing. We initiated a prospective controlled study to evaluate the utility of maggot therapy for treating pressure ulcers in spinal cord injury patients in the modern era. Eight of our patients received MT after a baseline assessment of healing under conventional therapy (defined as any therapy prescribed by the patient's primary care team). Surface area, tissue quality and healing rates were monitored weekly. MT debrided most of the necrotic wounds within one week, which was more rapid than all other non-surgical methods. Wound healing was more rapid during MT than during antecedent conventional therapy (p = 0.01). No complications were seen. We have demonstrated that MT can be beneficial in the treatment of pressure ulcers in persons with spinal cord injuries. MT was significantly more effective and efficient than the current, conventional treatment alternatives being used. MT was also safe, simple and inexpensive. MT can be a valuable modality in the treatment of pressure ulcers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Debridement / methods*
  • Diptera / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Pressure Ulcer / etiology*
  • Pressure Ulcer / pathology
  • Pressure Ulcer / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome