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surgical site infections

why is this a priority to us?

  • Surgical site infections can occur after any surgery when bacteria get into surgical wounds
  • These can lead to need for antibiotics, longer recovery times, additional surgeries, and additional time in the hospital

who’s at greatest risk?

  • Anyone having surgery can develop an infection
  • Patients who are having devices implanted – such as rods in backs for scoliosis, or shunts in brains
  • Large intestine (Colon) surgeries due to the large number of bacteria that naturally live there

what are we doing to reduce infections?

  • We make efforts to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin prior to surgery by:
    • Asking patients to bathe the night before surgery
    • We wash their skin again in the pre-op area prior to surgery
    • The area that will be cut is thoroughly cleaned just prior to incision
  • We give antibiotics in our highest risk cases just prior to incision to help reduce the chance of infection

what do we measure?

  • At present we measure the number of infections related to spine cases and to specific neurosurgery cases.
  • Beginning this year, we will also be measuring the number of infections related to large intestine cases.
  • The rate is measured by total number of infections per 100 procedures (spine + neurosurgery)


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