Surgical Site Infections (SSI)

What is SSI?

A surgical-site infection (SSI) is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the procedure took place. Out of every 100 patients who have surgery, 1 to 3 will develop an infection. An SSI can sometimes be superficial, involving the skin only, but can become more serious if it involves tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material. Annually, there are approximately 300,000 surgical site infections, which accounts for 17% of all HAIs, and second only to UTI. SSIs lead to an increase in mortality and morbidity, and often add 7-10 days to hospital time.

The symptoms of SSI include redness and pain around the area where surgery occurred, drainage of cloudy fluid from the surgical wound, and fever.

To prevent SSI, healthcare providers should practice good hand hygiene before and during surgery, wear sterile protective equipment, and thoroughly clean the skin at the site of surgery. Patients can prevent SSI by making sure that providers are cleaning their hands before and after surgery, by avoiding shaving near where the surgery will occur (as this can irritate skin and make it easier to develop an infections), and asking for explanation of everything to know about taking care of a wound before leaving the hospital.

Preoperative Measures:

  • Administer antimicrobial prophylaxis in accordance with evidence based standards and guidelines
  • Identify and treat any remote infections before elective operation
  • Do not remove hair at the operative site unless it will interfere with the operation; do not use razors

Intraoperative Measures:

  • Maintain Operating Room Traffic
  • Maintain surgical wound dressing
  • Control blood glucose level during the immediate post-operative period
  • Discontinue antibiotics within 24 hours after surgery end time

Postoperative Measures:

  • Feedback of surgeon specific infection rates