Surgical Site Infections

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Your skin is a natural barrier against infection, so any surgery that causes a break in the skin can lead to a postoperative, or surgical site, infection. Dr. Edward Hill discusses surgical site infections in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

If you have surgery, the chances of developing a surgical site infection are about 1 to 3 percent.

Infections after surgical procedures can cause pain, poor wound healing, need for further treatment including antibiotics, longer hospital stays and increased health care costs.

Postoperative infections usually occur within 30 days after surgery. They may cause severe problems, including failure of the surgical procedure, other surgical complications, sepsis, organ failure and even death. Some persons are at higher risk of developing postoperative infections than others.

Symptoms of a surgical site infection may include redness, delayed healing, pain, fever, tenderness, warmth or swelling.

Ways to try to prevent these types of infections include:

giving antibiotics before a procedure, when appropriate

making sure the patient is in the best condition possible before elective surgery

using an antiseptic solution to prep the area around a surgical incision

maintaining sterility of the surgical area and operating tools, and

having operating room staff wear clean scrub clothes, hats and masks.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.