Maggots can be used to help heal complicated wounds in diabetic patients, a new study suggests.

The research was presented at the 51st Interscience Conference on Anti-Microbial Agents and Chemotherapy in Chicago.

Scientists used sterile larvae of the green blow-fly, Medical News Today reported.

The maggots' secretions fight infections and help quicken the healing process, scientists wrote in a statement on the conference Web site.

Scientists said they successfully treated more than 20 patients who had several previously failed treatment attempts.

There's no question that these little critters are able to debride tissue very efficiently, researcher and University of Hawaii medical professor Lawrence Eron said, MedPage Today reported.

Researchers also highlighted a cost-benefit to the maggots: they are far cheaper than alternatives such as ulcer treatments and limb amputations. Medical grade maggots for two treatments were purchased for $100.

MDT is an effective, low-cost, salvage option for the treatment of complex wounds in diabetics, Eron wrote on the conference Web site. Difficult wounds of long-standing duration may be healed by MDT where conventional treatment has failed, thus averting amputation.