Surgical Site Infections

By Thamanna Hussain

Devices used in medical procedures, which treat patients and help them recover can commonly trigger infections. Such medical errors can have unfortunate consequences on many patients. These healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can occur at surgery sites, known as surgical site infections. A surgical site infection basically occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. While some surgical site infections can be prevented, most of them are misdiagnosed due to medical malpractice or negligence.

HAIs are considered a common cause of illness and mortality today and are ranked high among the most common adverse events in U.S. healthcare. Organisms might also infect a surgical would site or the local site, which can result from unsterilized medical equipment, lack of surgical preparation or faulty techniques.

In order to successfully prevent a surgical site infection, a bundle approach is needed where multiple strategies are combined and have lasting results. One strategy is known as surgical irrigation, which cleans the wound bed prior to closure to promote quicker healing. With this process, it is necessary to add antibiotics or other substances, which means the exposure time would have to be much longer than it is typically seen in surgery for irrigation fluid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that out of 27 million surgical procedures performed each year in the United States, 756,000 are surgical-site infections. Since many surgical-site infections result in open wounds, they heal poorly and remain infected for a long time.

Thousands of patients are victim to post surgical infections and are often unaware that their infection could have been prevented. When infections are misdiagnosed, patients can suffer severe illnesses, injuries and even wrongful death.