• Mar
    08
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    What Are The Primary Causes Of Postoperative Infections?

    Postoperative Infections

    Postoperative infections, also known as surgical site infections or SSIs occur in between 1% and 3% of surgical patients, and they represent the second most common adverse event that can occur in surgical patients that require overnight stays. They vary in seriousness, with some involving only the skin and others involving the tissue under the skin. They can lead to complications ranging from higher expenses and longer hospital stays to required readmission and even to patient death.

    Studies have shown that postoperative infections are most common following surgeries on parts of the body that are known to have high quantities of bacteria, such as the bowel. Wounds that are considered clean makeup less than 2% of surgical site infections and these infections are generally limited to the skin. By contrast, when surgery is done on an area where gross contamination is present with no obvious infection, it is believed that bacteria are introduced when the surgical field is contaminated by these bacteria, which accounts for 20% of surgical site infections. Surgeries conducted on sites where an active infection is already presented are considered dirty wounds where bacteria are likely to be found. These types of surgeries account for more than 40% of infections.

    Though the presence of bacteria is a high risk for surgical site infection, there are also certain patient risk factors such as gender and age, as well as whether a patient is a smoker, is obese, is nutritionally deficient or has diabetes. The length of time that surgery takes can also be a factor, with more infections occurring in surgeries that last more than two hours.

    In addition to following proper intraoperative hygiene protocols, one of the most important things that a physician can do to prevent postoperative infection is to properly use prophylactic antibiotics prior to surgery, topical antibiotics and antimicrobial dressings. Shaving of surgical sites, once common, has been identified as a source of potential infection and is now being discouraged in most cases. A study conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggests that prophylactic antibiotics are not being used to their best advantage, including preoperatively and during surgery, and made several recommendations regarding improvements that could be made to ensure proper dosage and timing of drug delivery.

    If you or someone you love suffered a postoperative infection and you believe that it was the result of negligence or medical malpractice, we can help. Contact us today to set up a time for us to discuss what happened to you.

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