Medicinal Maggots: Just What the Doctor Ordered & A Great Way to Save

maggotsYes, we’re serious. Maggots are an FDA, AMA approved way to treat non-healing wounds at a fraction of the cost of other treatments.

Medicinal Maggot Therapy is a branch of bio-therapy that involves a health care practitioner introducing live, disinfected maggots into any non-healing wound with the effect of selectively cleaning out only the dead tissue and infection, thereby helping the wound heal.

Here’s how and why they work so well: (Admittedly, the patient first has to get over the gross-out factor.)

  • They work against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and do not require the use of antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of multiply-resistant strains of new bacteria.
  • They’re only used on wounds that won’t heal with conventional, modern treatment.
  • They don’t actually eat flesh (phew!): they actually excrete digestive juices which then liquefy the rotten flesh so it can be easily cleaned off the wound. What’s left is only fresh, bacteria free skin that is more likely to heal.
  • According to medical journals, limb salvage rates with maggot therapy are about 40% to 50%. Some report success rates of 70% to 80%, though definitions of “success” can vary.
  • The entire process of cleaning out a wound is completed within 72 hours.

Here’s how it can save you money:

  • A supply of specially-raised, clean maggots to clean out a wound costs less than $100.
  • You don’t have to pay for drugs, long hospital stays, surgeries or the multitude of other costs that alternative treatments require. All that considered, you could save thousands if not tens-of-thousands of dollars.
  • Treatment is effective; it does not see complications or a need for costly follow-ups.

Because of Maggot Therapy’s effectiveness, the Food and Drug Administration approved the production and marketing of specially raised maggots for the treatment of non-healing surface wounds. This includes pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, neuropathic foot ulcers, and non-healing traumatic or post surgical wounds.

In November of 2008, the American Medical Association along with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid endorsed the treatment by setting up guidelines for patient reimbursement when filing claims after treatment. The hope is that private health insurance will not be long in following this plan.

Any doctor in the United States can prescribe maggot therapy to his or her patients.