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Please note that this definition of Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) has been taken from information provided by third parties and healers.co.uk does not endorse any statements that may be given, nor recommend any services offered. Additionally the definition or opinions provided below may differ from those which may be given by some practitioners. This information should therefore be considered as general guidance only, and you should always consult professional advice if you are in any way concerned about your health.

Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT)

What is a Maggot Debridement Therapy ?

MDT (also known as larva/larval therapy, biodebridement or bio-surgery) has long been associated with battlefield wounds and was widely used until early in the twentieth century when their use declined with the introduction of antibiotics and improvements in surgical processes. It has also been used for hundreds of years by the Australian Aborigines. However, since the 1980ís, the use of maggot therapy has been revived, largely due to antibiotic resistance and the potential problems associated with surgical intervention.

Maggot therapy is now considered a safe, rapid and inexpensive alternative to other forms of debridement, including surgery. It is particularly useful in cases where conventional wound management has failed to have effect.

The therapy makes use of sterile common 'greenbottle' larvae (Phaenicia sericata or Lucilia sericata), supplied by a specialist medical-grade maggot suppliers, which secrete enzymes which only affect dead tissue. Any bacteria are destroyed in passing through the maggot's body. Even MRSA infections can be successfully destroyed by this method.

The word 'debridement' means the removal of any dead or necrotic tissue from and around a wound to expose healthy tissue.

What is MDT suitable for ?

Infected wounds
  • Wet necrotic / sloughy wounds
  • Leg ulcers
  • Pressure sores
  • Surgical wounds
  • Malignant wounds
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Amputation wounds
  • Indolent wounds

    Wounds not suitable for maggot therapy
  • Dry necrotic wounds
  • Fistulae
  • Wounds that connect with the abdominal cavity or other organs
  • Wounds that bleed easily
  • Wounds close to major blood vessels or nerves
  • Wounds with poor blood supply

    Potential side-effects of maggot therapy

  • Increased exudate production
  • Exudate may become pinkish-red in colour
  • Increased odour
  • Patients with ischaemic wounds may complain of wound pain during treatment.

    Who can carry out MDT ?

    Maggot therapy should only be undertaken by an individual who has received training in maggot therapy, has experience in wound management and a thorough understanding of the wound healing process.


    None known

    Information for this definition has been derived from various sources including NHS publications.

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