Surgical site infections are infections caused by contamination of the surgical incision with micro-organisms from the patient’s body.
After surgery, the wound or wounds left on a patient can be infected if they are not properly dressed and maintained by the surgery team and the patient . The wounds could also be infected at the hospital. It depends on whether the procedure was clean or it was contaminated, both major and minor surgery.
There are three main categories of surgical site infections, abbreviated SSI.
There is Superficial incision SSI, Organ space SSI and Deep incision SSI.
Superficial incision surgical site infection occurs within the space between the skin and the underlying muscle. This type of infection usually occurs within 30 days after the operation.
A deep incision surgical site infection occurs within the deep layers of the soft tissues such as the muscles and fascia. It happens within 30 days and 1 year after the operation.
An organ space surgical site infection occurs in any organ or tissues other than where the operation was performed on.
Signs and symptoms of surgical site infections.
Some of the common symptoms of a surgical site infection are;
redness and pain around the site of surgery, drainage of a cloudy fluid from the surgical site and fever. These surgical site infection manifestations sometimes take up to two weeks to be clear. There is usually least possibility of an infection occurring after these two weeks but the standard surgery procedure is to do a follow-up for about 30 days after the procedure.
Main treatment options of surgical site infections.
One of the treatment options is to open the infected incision, get a specimen and then start an antistaphylococcal treatment.
The other option is to open the incision and then remove the infected tissue and then wrap the wound and let it heal itself. This second option of treatment is referred to as secondary intention.
To prevent surgical site infections, you and the surgeon need to clean your hands and arms with antiseptics before the surgery to avoid any bacterium or viruses. Hair around the area of operation needs to be removed but not shaved with a razor. They tend to leave stems of hair. Both you and the surgeon need to wear special hair covers, masks and gloves during the surgery procedure.
Treatment of the surgical site infection can be done using antibiotics. It is usually recommend that you take antibiotics an hour before the surgery but stop within 24 hours after surgery. After the procedure, you need to clean the site of surgery with special soap that can kill germs.
If you have any other medical conditions such as allergies, diabetes or obesity, it is advisable and recommended that you the surgeon know before the surgery. These diseases and conditions could affect the procedure and the treatment. If you are a smoker, need to quit smoking as it does increase the chances of infections and slows the healing process.