Author(s): McHugh SM, Hill AD, Humphreys H
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Abstract Approximately five percent of patients who undergo surgery develop surgical site infections (SSIs) which are associated with an extra seven days as an inpatient and with increased postoperative mortality. The competence and technique of the surgeon is considered important in preventing SSI. We have reviewed the evidence on different aspects of surgical technique and its role in preventing SSI. The most recent guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK recommend avoiding diathermy for skin incision even though this reduces incision time and blood loss, both associated with lower infection rates. Studies comparing different closure techniques, i.e. continuous versus interrupted sutures, have not found a statistically significant difference in the SSI rate, but using continuous sutures is quicker. For contaminated wounds, the surgical site should be left open for four days to allow for treatment of local infection before subsequent healing by primary intention. Surgical drains should be placed through separate incisions, closed suction drains are preferable to open drains, and all drains should be removed as soon as possible. There are relatively few large studies on the impact of surgical techniques on SSI rates. Larger multicentre prospective studies are required to define what aspects of surgical technique impact on SSI, to better inform surgical practice and support education programmes for surgical trainees. Copyright © 2011 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Hosp Infect
and referenced in Journal of Biometrics & Biostatistics