Surgical Site Infections
What are surgical site infections?
A surgical site infection is an infection that develops in a part of the body after surgery has been performed on it. Most patients do not develop surgical infections, but according to statistics compiled by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections do occur after about 2 percent of surgeries.
What are we doing to prevent these infections?
To help prevent surgical site infections, our doctors, nurses and other health care team members:
- Clean their hands and arms with germ-killing antibacterial soap or special alcohol-based sanitizer just before surgery. This removes and kills germs from the skin of surgery team members, reducing the risk of infection.
- Wear special hair covers, masks, gowns and gloves during surgery to further reduce the possibility of germs in the surgery area.
- Administer antibiotics soon before surgery begins for many types of surgery, such as heart, hip and colon surgery.
After a patient's surgery is finished, every member of the health care team cleans his or her hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer before caring for the patient. This removes and kills germs every time a doctor, nurse or other expert cares for the patient.
What can patients and families do to help?
Patients and their families can help reduce the risk of surgical site infections. To learn what you can do, please read this surgical site infections fact sheet.
How are we doing?
University of Missouri Health Care's overall surgical infection rates are significantly lower than comparisons set by the National Healthcare Safety Network, a group of more than 1,500 hospitals throughout the country. Those benchmarks compare our surgical infection rates to those of major teaching hospitals throughout the country. Our infection rates show the average number of infections for every 100 surgeries we perform. The data show that in 2009, our surgical infection rates were approximately 25 percent lower than national standards for hospitals similar to ours. In 2010, they dropped to 32 percent lower than the national average.
More infection prevention measures
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