What is a Surgical Site Infection?

Surgery is a process that comes with tedious care from everyone involved. Even with careful precautions, tissue after surgery is often prone to exposure to pathogens and infection. Some of these infections can be superficial, but can also be more severe and affect internal organs. These infections are termed Surgical Site Infections or (SSI).

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there are many symptoms that could indicate an SSI. Redness, pain and inflammation near or around the surgical site wound are common symptoms for an SSI. Furthermore, if a patient feels feverish or has excessive drainage of cloudy fluid from the surgical site wound, they should seek a healthcare professional immediately.

The use of antibiotics is ubiquitous in treating SSIs. The CDC cites antibiotics and additional surgery as the primary methods for treating SSIs. However, it is important to note that, like any other bacteria, bacteria in SSIs have the ability to become resistant to antibiotics. This makes the infection harder to treat and more dangerous. Alternatives to antibiotics should be sought out when dealing with SSIs.

There are many ways to prevent SSIs. Healthcare workers should pay careful attention to sanitation and prevent the spread of germs. Patients should also refrain from shaving near the surgical site as razors can irritate the skin and promote infection on the surgical site. Both patients and healthcare workers should observe the surgical site before, during and after the surgery in order to prevent infection, or diagnose and treat an infection as soon as possible. These precautions in tandem with treatments alternative to antibiotics will serve to minimize the risk of SSIs.


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