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Recognizing surgical site infections

Countless Seattle residents seek surgical treatment from the area's hospitals and medical centers every year. Sadly, some of them (or members of their families) end up coming to see us here at Miracle Pruzan and Pruzan after having acquired serious infections from their surgeries. Such complications can easily produce life-altering consequences or even death. Often, it may be impossible to avoid suffering impairments from a surgical site infection that you acquire. However, identifying it early may help to mitigate its effects.

SSIs occur when disease-causing bacteria are introduced into the skin, muscles, tissues or organs directly involved in your surgical procedure. The most common types of bacteria associated with these complications include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Pseudomonas. In many cases, the transmission of these bacteria occurs through contact with a caregiver or the use of a contaminated surgical instrument. It is for this reason that research data shared by SafeCareCampaign.org estimates that between 40 to 60 percent of SSIs are preventable through proper infection control techniques such as following instrument sterilization standards or recognized hand washing and/or glove use protocols.

Your providers should constantly be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms associated with SSIs during your post-operative care. Such indicators include:

  •          Pain, tenderness, or swelling around the area of your incision
  •          A foul odor or discharge coming from your incision
  •          The skin and tissue around your surgical site becoming discolored to feeling hot to the touch
  •          A general lack of healing around the surgical site

You should report such issues to your providers if they fail to pick up on them on their own. You can discover more information on dealing with surgical site infections here on our site. 

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