A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection that develops after surgery in any part of the body where the procedure happens.  Infections at the site of surgery can occasionally just affect the skin. Other, more serious surgery site infections might affect tissues underneath the skin and organs. Every surgery that results in a break in the skin can induce an infection, despite the numerous safeguards and processes in place to prevent infection.


Typically, a surgical site infection (SSI) develops 30 days following surgery. The following are three forms of surgery site infections:

  • Deep incisional SSI. The muscle and tissues around the muscles become infected beneath the incision site.
  • Superficial incisional SSI. Only the skin area where the incision was done becomes infected.
  • Space or organ SSI. Other than the skin, muscles, and surrounding tissue that were involved in the surgery, this form of infection can occur anywhere on the body. 


Any infection may result in fever, swelling, soreness, pain, redness, or delayed healing. Other indications and symptoms for particular SSI types include the following:

  • SSIs with deep incisions may also ooze pus. The wound site could naturally heal, or if a surgical reopening is performed, a surgeon might find pus inside the wound.
  • Discharge from the wound site may be produced by a superficial incisional SSI. To identify the specific types of germs causing the infection, pus sample cultures might be used.
  • A pus discharge from a drain inserted through the skin into an organ or bodily space may be visible on an SSI of that organ or area. 


Taking a wound swab and culturing several aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms is the typical procedure for determining the pathogens responsible for a surgical site infection (SSI). Wound swab samples may also be employed to identify fungi that cause diseases in addition to bacteria. 


Antibiotics are usually effective in managing SSIs. Further surgery or procedures could occasionally be needed. Make sure that loved ones wash their hands before and after entering your room while you’re recovering. Do not forget to wash the hands of medical professionals, nurses, and other caretakers.

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