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Surgical Site Infection
(SSI; Surgical Wound Infection)
by Patricia Griffin Kellicker, BSN
A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection in the area where surgery was done. Most SSIs involve the skin, but sometimes deep tissue or organs can become infected.
The sooner a surgical site infection is treated, the better the outcome.
SSIs are caused by bacteria.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase your chance an SSI are:
An SSI may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and look at your wound.
Tests may include the following:
Treatment options include:
Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. The kind of antibiotic you will get depends on the bacteria causing the infection. You may be given antibiotics by IV or by mouth.
You may need surgery to clean out the infection from your wound. Your doctor will reopen the wound. It may be flushed with sterile fluid and drained of pus.
Your doctor may order a special dressing to help your wound heal.
To help reduce your chance of an SSI, your doctor may do the following:
American College of Surgeons
Centers for Disease Control
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Healthcare-associated infections (HAI). Centers for Disease Control website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai. Updated July 14, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017.
Stevens DL, Bisno AL, Chambers HF, et al. Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft tissue infections: 2014 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;59(2):e10-e52.
Surgical site infection—prevention. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 7, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
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