How to Recognize and Reduce the Risk of a Surgical Site Infection.

By: Adam, inc.

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the area that the surgery was performed. Health care professionals need to educate the patient with accurate information about the signs and symptoms to be aware of. Early recognition of these signs and symptoms will prevent the infection from spreading and becoming worse. and easier to manage with antibiotics.

Reducing the risk of a surgical site infection is important for the best surgical outcomes. Before your surgery if you have any infections such as a urinary tract infections, chest cold, cellulitis or fungus, you should let your health care provider know. They want to cancel or postpone the surgery until you are healthy. These infections could decrease the healing of your surgical incision. Do not shave your body on around the area where the surgery will be performed. Shaving increases the risk of infection, a nurse will use an clipper the day of surgery if nessacary. Shower the night before with an antimicrobial soap provided by your healthcare provider. Keep your hands clean at all times, keep the incision clean and dry and do not touch the wound with your bare hands.

Call your health care provider if you think that you have any of these infections or have any questions or concerns.


This video discusses the signs and symptoms of an infection and what you should look out for. As the patient you should be aware of these signs and symptoms of infection such as, pain, increased skin temperature, redness, swelling, discharge such as pus and a high fever in and around the incision/wound.

If you have any of these signs and symptoms you should contact your health care provider immediately.


Stryja, J. (2018). Ten top tips: prevention of surgical site infections.   Wounds International9(2), 16–20. 

Brettmann, E. A., & de Guzman Strong, C. (2018). Recent evolution of the human skin barrier. Experimental Dermatology27(8), 859–866. 

Siaw-Sakyi, V. (2017). Early wound infection identification using the WIRE tool in community health care settings: An audit report. British Journal of Community Nursing22, S20–S27.

Tartari, E., Weterings, V., Gastmeier, P., Rodriguez-Bano, J., Widmer, A., Kluytmans, J., Voss, A. (2017). Patient engagement with surgical site infection: an expert panel perspective. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 6(45).  p. 1-9