Perioperative infection

What is a Perioperative Infection?

A perioperative infection is any infection that develops in the days or weeks following a surgical procedure. Perioperative infections can range from mild skin infections in the incision site to potentially life-threatening infections in the body. Perioperative infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Risk Factors for Perioperative Infection

There are many factors that can increase the risk of developing a perioperative infection. These include:

  • Underlying illnesses or medical conditions, such as diabetes or immunosuppression
  • Prolonged surgery time or poor surgical technique
  • Use of invasive equipment such as catheters or drains
  • Recent use of antibiotics
  • Prolonged hospital stay
  • Obesity

Symptoms of a Perioperative Infection

The symptoms of a perioperative infection vary but can include:

  • Redness, swelling, or warmth around the incision site
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pain or tenderness around the incision site
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drainage from the incision site

Diagnosis and Treatment of Perioperative Infections

If a perioperative infection is suspected, the healthcare provider will take a medical history, perform a physical examination, and order tests such as a blood or urine culture to look for bacteria in the body. Treatment of a perioperative infection often involves antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the infection, surgery may be needed to remove any infected tissue.

Prevention of Perioperative Infections

The best way to prevent a perioperative infection is to practice good hand hygiene and take preventative steps during surgery and postoperatively. For example, healthcare providers should thoroughly clean the skin prior to surgery, avoid contamination of wounds during surgery, and administer antibiotics before and after surgery, when appropriate. Patients should also keep the incision site clean and follow their healthcare provider’s instructions on wound care.