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Beware of infections after a surgery

Surgical procedures are sometimes necessary, but they don't come without risks. One of the risks that comes with these procedures is infection. Typically, an infection of a surgical site will occur within 30 days. The chance of this happening is anywhere from 1 to 3 percent, depending on the circumstances.

There are three specific locations where these infections might occur. One is superficially at the incision location. Another is deeper in the tissues that were manipulated during the procedure. The third is the organs that were operated on or the spaces around them. No matter what type of infection with which you are dealing, they will likely have the same symptoms.

The most common signs of an infection of a surgical site are redness, warmth and pain. In the case of more advanced infections, pus might be present. Sometimes, the infection might lead to an abscess, which is a pus filled area that usually has to be lanced and drained.

When doctors have to treat an infection of a surgical area, they need to give the person antibiotics. These are usually given orally, but can also be provided via intravenous lines or intramuscular shots. The type of bacteria and the severity of the infection determine how antibiotics need to be administered.

It is virtually impossible to predict exactly who will suffer from an infection after surgery. Properly monitoring patients and providing education about what to look for in these cases is important. One issue that arises is when the infection isn't treated or if it isn't found despite the patient coming in with complaints consistent with an infection.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, "Surgical Site Infections," accessed May 25, 2018

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