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Outpatient Surgery

Surgical Site Infection

What you need to know about surgical site infection (SSI)

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Most patients who have surgery do not develop an infection. However, infections develop in about one to three out of every 100 patients who have surgery.

Some of the common symptoms of a surgical site infection are:

  • Redness and pain around the area where you had surgery
  • Drainage of cloudy fluid from your surgical wound
  • Fever

Can SSIs be treated?

Yes. Most surgical site infections can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic given to you depends on the germs causing the infection. Sometimes patients with SSIs also need another surgery to treat the infection.

If you develop an SSI, you should:

  • Make sure that your healthcare providers clean their hands before examining you—either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Ask your healthcare providers to clean their hands after treating your surgical wound, if you do not see them doing so.
  • Ask family and friends who visit you not touch the surgical wound or dressings.
  • Ask family and friends to clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting you.
  • Always clean your own hands before and after caring for your wound.

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