Specially prepared maggots have been approved by the FDA since 2004 for neuropathic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers,venous stasis ulcers, and traumatic and post-surgical wounds. Insurance companies spend thousands of dollars for an amputation but back off at a $100.00 maggot treatment.
The American Medical Association and the CMS clarified its reimbursement guidelines to the wound care community for medicinal maggots and maggot therapy last week, so perhaps a code and overall approval will follow. It is a very low cost item and seems worthwhile to try if it has the potential of saving a limb or other body part from amputation. For now we can stand by and wait for the CPT code to arrive as it appears there finally might be some movement in this area and the treatment is FDA approved. BD
Maggots, the larval stage of certain flies, are already a federally approved treatment for people with nasty bed sores, chronic post-surgical wounds and diabetic foot ulcers. Now, maggot therapy has received a boost from the medical establishment that could make it easier for patients and doctors to get insurance reimbursement for this treatment, which was noticed as effective against war wounds by Napoleon's surgeon general as well as by orthopedic surgeon Dr. William S. Baer during WWI, among others.
"They liquefy or dissolve the dead tissue (by secreting their digestive enzymes into the wound), so the wound is debrided [cleaned] whether the liquefied tissue and debris is eaten or simply drains out of the wound," he said. Larvae, being immature, are unable to reproduce in the wound, he added.