Diabetic patients may find a new friend in maggots, which may save them from amputations.

A treatment called Maggot Debridement Therapy uses maggots to speed up the removal of dead tissues while helping to reduce the bacteria within the wound. This helps the wound to heal faster. The treatment is available at many hospitals in Singapore.

Early last year, 56-year-old diabetic Subramaniam Manikam injured his heel, leaving a wound that would not heal. His doctors then recommended he undergo the treatment using medical-grade maggots.

These maggots are bred by local company ORIGIN Scientia in a lab at Science Park. According to a study it did on 14 patients, two-thirds of those who were scheduled for amputation managed to avoid the surgery after they underwent this treatment.

Mr Subramaniam went for five treatments in January, and his wound is now healing well. He said he was shocked by the treatment at first. “So they put in the maggot. It was like mosquito larvae. After two days, it was quite big, and when they opened up the wound, it fell out,” he said. “Every time they put it in, it takes two days. This maggot works only in the night. It is very painful when they start eating. I was given painkillers.”

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