Hospitals can improve surgical care and reduce the risk of wound infection after surgery by providing the right medicines at the right time on the day of surgery. Sometimes patients get an infection after surgery, even if the hospital took steps to prevent it. Here are signs to look out for:
- The surgical wound is red, hot, and swollen.
- You have a fever of over 100 degrees after you go home.
- A smelly or yellow/green fluid is coming out of the wound.
- Your pain is increasing even though you are taking pain medication.
Call your doctor or local hospital immediately if you have any of these signs.
Scientific evidence indicates that the following measures represent the best practices for the prevention of infections after selected surgeries (colon surgery, hip and knee arthroplasty, abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy, cardiac surgery - including coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG) - and vascular surgery). Higher scores are better.
Prophylactic Antibiotic Received Within 1 Hour Prior to Surgical Incision
Research shows that surgery patients who get antibiotics within the hour before their operation are less likely to get wound infections. Getting an antibiotic earlier, or after surgery begins, is not as effective.
Prophylactic Antibiotics Discontinued Within 24 Hours After Surgery End Time
While the likelihood of infection after surgery can be reduced by giving patients preventative antibiotics, taking these antibiotics for more than 24 hours after routine surgery is usually not necessary and can increase the risk of side effects such as stomach aches, serious types of diarrhea, and antibiotic resistance (when antibiotics are used too much, they will not work anymore.) Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how long you should take antibiotics after surgery.
Prophylactic Antibiotic Selection
Certain antibiotics are recommended to help prevent wound infection for particular types of surgery. It is important that hospital surgical patients get the appropriate antibiotic in order to prevent a surgical wound infection.
Treatments Ordered by Doctors to Prevent Blood Clots (Venous Thromboembolism) for Certain Types of Surgeries
Certain types of surgery can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the veins. This is because patients don't move much during and, usually, after some surgeries. Venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a vein. This clot can limit blood flow, causing swelling, redness and pain. Most commonly, clots occur in the legs, thighs, or pelvis. If a part or all of the clot breaks off from where it was formed, it can travel through the veins. The part that breaks off is called an embolus. If the embolus lodges in the lung, it is called a pulmonary embolism, a serious condition that can cause death. A number of factors can increase a patient's risk of developing blood clots, but doctors can order preventive treatments called prophylaxis to reduce the risk. Prophylaxis may include blood thinning medications, elastic support stockings, or mechanical air stockings that promote circulation in the legs.
Treatment Received by Patients to Prevent Blood Clots Within 24 Hours Before or After Selected Surgeries
Treatment(s) to prevent blood clots must be given at the right time to prevent blood clots forming after selected surgeries.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hospital Compare