What is a surgical infection? Our bodies are designed to protect us from getting sick. Our skin, white blood cells, and antibodies protect us from “germs” which cause sickness. However, there are always some germs that find a way around our defenses. When these germs enter our bodies, they multiply and can cause damage to parts of the body. This is called an infection. When an infection occurs after surgery, it is called a surgical infection.
Various interventions and practices influence the ability to prevent surgical infections from occurring and are the framework of the national Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP).
The following interventions have been shown to decrease rates of surgical infections if they are applied correctly every time:
- giving antibiotic within 60 minutes prior to incision
- selecting appropriate antibiotic based on patient and type of surgery
- stopping of antibiotic within 24 hours of surgery end time (varies with type of surgery)
- using appropriate hair removal technique
- keeping patients warm and oxygenated
- controlling blood glucose levels
- removing urinary catheter by post-operative day 2
Also, our surgical teams use best practices for sterilization, aseptic technique, attire, and peri-operative preparation/optimization of patient risk factors.