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 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.

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