Therapeutic applications of the larvae for wound debridement

Published:January 09, 2009DOI:


      It has been known for centuries that application of larvae is useful to heal certain wounds by facilitating debridement of necrotic tissue. Their therapeutic use was popularised in the beginning of the 19th century, but waned in the 1940s with the advent of antiseptic wound management and antibiotics. In more recent years, larvae are once again in vogue for management of difficult wounds.
      The mechanism of wound debridement by larvae includes the complete wound by continuous larval motion, secretion of proteolytic enzymes and antibacterial substances, effects on epidermal growth factor and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and ingestion and digestion of bacteria and necrotic tissue.
      In our study, wound debridement was achieved satisfactorily in 29 of 34 patients (85%) with chronic wounds. In the remaining five patients, failures occurred due to inadequate sealing in two patients (6%), death of larvae in two patients (6%) and treatment intolerance in one patient (3%).
      Larval therapy should be considered as a therapeutic option in the management of certain difficult wounds.


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