Return to Index
Surgical Site Infection
(SSI; Surgical Wound Infection)
A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection linked to recent surgery. Most SSIs involve just the skin. Some may infect deep tissue or organs.
The sooner an SSI is treated, the better the outcome.
|Surgical Site Infection Near the Ankle|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Factors that may increase your chance an SSI are:
An SSI may cause:
- Fever more than 100.5ºF 48 hours or more after surgery
- Fast heart rate
- Chest pain
Symptoms in the area where the surgery took place:
- Bad smell
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and past heath. Your wound will be checked.
Tests may include the following:
Treatment options include:
- Antibiotics—may be given as pills or through IV
Surgery—to clean out the infection
- The wound may need to be reopened.
- It can be flushed with fluid to clean out pus.
- Special dressing—to help keep area dry and clean
To help reduce your chance of an SSI, your doctor may recommend the following:
American College of Surgeons
Centers for Disease Control
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Healthcare-associated infections (HAI). Centers for Disease Control website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai. Updated July 14, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017.
Stevens DL, Bisno AL, Chambers HF, et al. Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft tissue infections: 2014 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;59(2):e10-e52.
Surgical site infection—prevention. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T316886/Surgical-site-infection-prevention. Updated September 4, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2018.
Suspected surgical site infection - approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T922624/Suspected-surgical-site-infection-approach-to-the-patient. Updated August 20, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2018.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD
- Review Date: 09/2018
- Update Date: 06/12/2020