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How can surgical wound infections happen?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

After undergoing surgery, most patients prepare for recovery with no worries about complications at the surgical site. Unfortunately, you could experience complications. In some cases, said complications may have been unavoidable. One of the complications after surgery is a surgical site infection or SSI. 

Medline details the signs and causes of SSI in patients. 

What causes surgical wound infections?

Surgical infections occur when bacteria enter the wound site. If you undergo a surgery that lasts more than two hours, you are more likely to suffer from infection than a person who had a shorter surgery. Infections may occur if there were already bacteria on the skin that spread to the wound or germs inside your body where the surgeons operated. 

Another cause for infections is surgical error. If a surgeon does not clean his or her instruments or the environment, bacteria can spread to the patient. 

What are the signs of a surgical wound infection?

The complications from an infection can be severe. There are three different levels to wound infections, including: 

  • Organ 
  • Deep 
  • Superficial 

An infection in your organs or the space within the surgical site is the most severe level. Deep infections affect the muscle and tissue, whereas superficial infections only affect the skin around the site. If you have a severe infection, treatments may include hospitalization, additional surgery or time in a nursing facility. 

If you have an infection after surgery, signs will include a bad odor from the wound, soreness and heat around the surgical site and pus or drainage. If you have a fever or chills, this could also be a sign of infection.