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Surgical Wounds and Surgical Site Infections: When Acute Healing Goes Wrong

Dr. Thomas E. Serena, MD, FACS, FACHM, MAPWCA

Surgical wounds with infection are some of the costliest wounds encountered by health care professionals, and often occur after discharge from the hospital. Understanding the cause of surgical wounds can help health care professionals better understand how to prevent them from occurring. This presentation reviews the impact of surgical wounds and provides tips on how to prevent and treat surgical wounds.


Surgical Wound Management: A Guide to Post-Operative Wound Care

Post-operative failure of the surgical wound to heal is the most common major complication related to surgical wound management. This failure is often the result of surgical site infection (SSI), which can lead to wound dehiscence. SSIs are serious and costly surgical wound complications that adversely affect patients’ quality of life. Being aware of risk factors for SSI can aid in preventing these infections. If an SSI does develop, however, validated assessment tools are available, as well as a classification system and evidence-based treatment modalities.


Quick Facts – Surgical Wound Management

Download Quick Facts – Surgical Wound Management and share it within your facility. This two-page fact sheet was created to support staff education on the prevention and treatment of surgical wounds. The print-friendly format is perfect for posting on the bulletin board or distributing to your nursing staff at in-service.

How Much Do You Know About Surgical Wound Management?

Take our 10-question quiz to find out!

Terms to know: Surgical Wounds

Acute Wound:  A wound that is following a predicted pattern of healing that should result in complete functional closure.

Chronic Wound: A wound that has failed to re-epithelialize after three months, usually because of failure to progress past the inflammatory phase of wound healing.

Epidermal Resurfacing/Stratification:Epidermal cells that proliferate and migrate across the surface of the wound from the wound margins and develop multilayered/stratified layers of epidermis.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate approximately 30 million surgical procedures are performed annually in the United States. Advances in technology have afforded patients options such as minimally invasive…

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Surgical Wound Care: Surgical Site Infection Prevention

Surgical site infections (SSIs) account for 20% of total documented infections each year and cost approximately $34,000 per episode. SSIs are responsible for increased readmission rates, length of stay…

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Post-Operative Surgical Wound Management: Key Treatment Considerations

Appropriate surgical wound and incision management in the post-operative time period is imperative to prevent complications, including surgical site…

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Managing Surgical Site Complications

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most prevalent surgical wound complications, comprising approximately 15% of all health care–associated infections, with more than 500,000 reported yearly. Preventing SSIs is perhaps the best way to prevent further…

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