If you saw the movie Gladiator, the scene where Russell Crowe has a wound packed with maggots might have made your skin crawl. Before you say “ewww,” you might want to learn how it’s saving limbs at Cox Medical Center Branson.
When looking at a non-healing wound, you won’t hear many doctors say, “Let’s put some maggots on it”, but that’s what some patients of Dr. Robert Dorsey at CoxHealth Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine are hearing. He’s been providing Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) for more than ten years and has just recently introduced it at his clinic in Branson.
“I can surgically debride tissue,” Dorsey explains. “But, in the process I can also catch good tissue. Using MDT, we’re able to clean wounds and help prevent amputation.”
Liliane Sparks, from Hollister, has health issues that prevent her from utilizing a hyperbaric chamber to help heal wounds. Without proper treatment of her deep wounds on her feet, she faces amputation. Sparks decided to give maggot debridement therapy a chance.
Following two therapy treatments, Liliane is seeing great progress and is pleased with the results. “The dead tissue is being cleaned up nicely by the medical grade maggots, which will allow us to begin treating the wound,” says Dorsey. “They clean the wounds by dissolving dead and infected tissue, they disinfect the wound and they speed up the rate of healing. They really clean up a wound well and help bring blood supply to the surface, allowing for new cell growth.”
Maggots cannot bury themselves into wounds. Medical grade maggots only feed on dead tissue. Also, they are obligate air-breathers, so once done feeding on dead tissue, they will leave the body.
Maggot therapy does not hurt. Maggots do not bite. Because they don’t have teeth, they use mouthhooks and have rough bumps around their body to help scrape dead tissue. Because it’s done on microscopic scale, patients typically don’t feel the maggots in their wound.
Only medical grade maggots should be used on wounds. Wild maggots may carry pathogens even more harmful than the ones already on the wounds.
For more details about CoxHealth Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine in Branson click on services at coxhealth.com/Branson
CoxHealth Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
CoxHealth Plaza One
101 Skaggs Rd., Branson, MO