Causes Of Surgical Site Infection

Causes Of Surgical Site Infection

Asurgical site infection or an SSI is an infection which occurs after a surgery at the site of surgery. Most commonly, the SSI is only skin deep. However, it may sometimes involve tissues or organs beneath the skin and rarely when materials like prosthesis or implants are placed during surgery. The likelihood of developing an SSI is around one-three per cent. Surgical site infections usually show symptoms like fever or redness, pain, swelling or discharge of pus from the surgical site, etc.

These site infections are usually caused by bacteria and rarely by fungus. The common bacteria which cause SSI are Staphylococcus, Streptococcus or Pseudomonas. A patient could get an SSI through different forms of contact like contaminated air during surgery, a contaminated touch from the caregiver or through an infected surgical instrument. It can also be acquired through germs already present on the skin or from an infected internal organ.

Possible Risks Of Acquiring SSI

Clean But Contaminated Wounds:
When there is no sign of any kind of infection during surgery, but when there is an operation of an internal organ.

Contaminated Wounds:
Here, operation on an internal organ takes place, whereby it may be required to spill the contents of the organ onto the wound.

Dirty Wounds:
In this situation, the skin is previously contaminated and there is an infection when the surgery takes place.

  • A surgery which lasts for two or more hours
  • Old Age
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • HIV or other causes which weaken the immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Emergency Surgery

Was To Reduce The Risk Of SSI

  • Always inform the surgical team regarding your past medical history of diabetes or any other long-term illness
  • Stop smoking before surgery
  • Avoid touching the wound or surgical site without sterilizing your hands


Most infections are superficial and antibiotics alone can treat the issue. At times, a regular wound dressing or an additional surgery to treat the issue or infection may be required.

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