Surgical Site Infections

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, but infections do develop in about one to three of every 100 surgical patients. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we are committed to reducing the chances of surgical site infections in our patients.

SSI- Abdominal Hysterectomy
SSI-Colon Surgery

 

What are we doing to prevent these infections?

To prevent surgical site infections, our doctors, nurses, and other health care providers:

  • Clean their hands and arms up to their elbows with an antiseptic agent just before performing surgery.
  • Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for each patient.
  • Wear special hair covers, masks, gowns, and gloves during surgery to keep the surgery area clean.
  • Give antibiotics before for many types of surgery, such as heart, hip, colon, and vascular surgery, when indicated.

How are we doing?

Adhering to these best practices has led to consistently low surgical site infection rates at BWH.

What can patients do to help?

Patients and their families can also help to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections. Download this surgical site infections fact sheet to see what preventive measures you and your family can take before and after surgery.

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