Keys To Managing Postoperative Wound Infections
Prevention of surgical site infections requires proper patient selection, meticulous surgical technique, a clean surgical environment, appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis (when indicated) and antisepsis at the surgical site. When surgical site infections occur, early and aggressive management is key.
Perioperatively, each surgeon must thoroughly evaluate his or her surgical patients, and identify those intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors that can predispose a patient to subsequent surgical infection. It is incumbent upon each member of the surgical team to practice appropriate hand hygiene in the perioperative setting, and it is the surgeon’s responsibility to enforce strict sterile principles by the entire surgical staff. The literature is quite clear. The implementation of evidence-based practices during the perioperative phase reduces the risk of surgical site infections, lowers healthcare costs and, most importantly, improves patient outcomes that will save limbs and lives.
Dr. Fitzgerald is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine — Greenville in Greenville, S.C. He is also affiliated with the Center for Amputation Prevention with the Greenville Health System in Greenville, S.C. Dr. Fitzgerald is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.