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Surgical site infections can lead to more invasive procedures

Having surgery can be an ordeal. Worry. Anesthesia. A lengthy healing process. In addition to the immediate danger of surgery, there can be risks afterward, too.

One of the risks that comes with any surgical procedure is an infection of the surgical site. These can be caused by many different things, but the results are usually painful for the patient. Here are some points to know about surgical site infections:

Causes

The skin acts as a protective barrier for the rest of the body. This is cut during surgery, which can leave an open path for bacteria and germs. Surgical instruments that have germs on them, unclean hands in the surgical suite, germs in the air or on your skin, and bacteria present in the organ or area of the body that is being worked on, can all contribute to a surgical site infection.

Signs

You might notice that the area around the incision is red and swollen. It might be very painful and warm to the touch. Drainage, such as pus, might be present. You could run a fever and feel like you are sick. A bad smell might emit from the area and you may have chills.

Types

The depth of the infection determines how it is classified. There are three classifications.

  • Organ or space: Often an abscess on the organs or areas within the body that were manipulated during the surgery
  • Deep incisional: Infection deeper in the incision that can reopen the wound due to the presence of pus
  • Superficial incisional: Limited to the surface of the incision or the area of cut skin

Effects

One of the most troubling effects of this type of infection is that it can cause delayed healing, which can lead to worse scarring than what would have happened without the infection. You will also have to take antibiotics. There is a chance that you will need another surgery to correct the issue that's leading to the infection.

When improper medical management is the cause of the infection, patients might have legal recourse. This could help them to cover costs associated with the problematic and potentially preventable surgical site infection.

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