Signs of Surgical Wound Infection and its Handling

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Signs of Surgical Wound Infection and its Handling
Signs of Surgical Wound Infection and its Handling

If you have just had surgery, you may be worried about the risk of a surgical wound infection. The reason is, infection in surgical incisions is a fairly common complaint. About 2–5% of patients who undergo surgery experience this condition

In most cases, surgical wound infections are caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria can enter your body during or after surgery.

Signs of Surgical Wound Infection and Treatment - Alodokter

If left untreated, surgical wound infections can lead to various complications, including delayed wound healing and infection that spreads throughout the body (sepsis). Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of a surgical wound infection and its management if you have just had surgery.

Surgery Wound Infection Symptoms

The following are some of the common symptoms that appear when the surgical incision is infected:

1. Redness and swelling at the surgical incision site

Infected surgical incisions can harden and swell as the underlying tissue becomes inflamed. Infected incisions may also be red and warm to the touch.

2. Pus coming out of the surgical wound

A foul-smelling pus may drain from the infected surgical wound. This liquid is usually thick in texture and can be green, white, or yellow in color.

3. Fever

Infection of the surgical wound can also cause an increase in body temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius that does not go down for more than 24 hours.

4. Pain

Surgery scars can indeed cause pain, but normally this pain will decrease slowly as the wound heals. However, if the pain in the surgical wound does not improve or gets worse for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of a surgical wound infection.

Types of Surgical Wound Infections and their Treatment

Based on the severity of the infection and the depth of the wound, surgical wound infections are divided into 3 types, each of which requires different treatment. Here is the explanation:

Skin infection

This type of surgical wound infection only affects the skin layer. Bacteria from your skin, operating room, surgeon's hands, and other surfaces in the hospital can transfer to the surgical site during surgery and cause infection.

This type of surgical wound infection, also called superficial infection, can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, doctors sometimes need to open a part of the surgical incision to drain the fluid from the wound and drain it.

Infections in muscles and tissues

This type of surgical wound infection involves the soft tissue under the skin being cut. This type of infection can be caused by an untreated superficial infection or a medical device implanted in your skin.

Almost the same as superficial infections, this type of infection is also treated by giving antibiotics. The difference is that the doctor may have to open the surgical incision completely to drain the pus and drain the wound.

Infection of organs and bones

This type of infection can result from an untreated superficial infection or bacteria that penetrated deep into the body cavity during surgery.

This type of infection requires a more complex treatment than the previous two types of surgical wound infections.Treatments that doctors can do for this type of infection include giving antibiotics, removing pus (drainage), and sometimes repeating surgery to repair organs or treat infection.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Surgical Wound Infection

Surgery wound infections can basically be experienced by anyone, but are more common in older adults. In addition, having a history of skin infections or conditions that weaken the immune system such as the following can also increase your risk of developing a surgical site infection:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Smoking

Prevention of Surgical Wound Infection

Some ways that can be done to avoid infection in surgical wounds are:

  • Make sure the sterile dressing applied to the wound is not removed for at least 48 hours.
  • Take antibiotics as directed by the doctor.
  • Make sure you understand and apply proper wound care.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and clean water before touching the wound and ask everyone who helps with your wound care to do the same.

Surgery wound infection is a common complaint, but it can be dangerous if not treated immediately. Therefore, if you have recently had surgery with an incision and experience the symptoms of a surgical wound infection mentioned above, see a doctor immediately so that he can be treated as soon as possible.

Written by:

dr. Sonny Seputra, M.Ked.Klin, Sp.B, FINACS(Surgeon Specialist)

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