Preventing infections in surgical wounds
Up to one in 20 patients undergoing surgery will develop a surgical site infection (SSI)
SSI and other skin complications can interfere with the normal healing process – leading to prolonged hospitalisation and even the need for further surgery
Dressing-related risk factors for SSI
Surgical wounds, like other wounds, are an ideal breeding ground for pathogens. Once the patient has left the operating room, a number of factors relating to the use of wound dressings may increase the risk of wound infection.
Dressing changes are associated with a risk of infection: the more often a dressing is changed, the more the wound is exposed to contamination
Poor exudate management is also a risk factor. Wound exudates contain material derived from contaminating microorganisms
Damage to the skin around the wound is also associated with infection. For example, the adhesive tapes that are used to hold traditional dressings in place are associated with the development of wound blisters
Preventing infection in surgical wounds
We provide healthcare professionals with best practice knowledge and expert support to help them reduce the risk of SSIs.
Minimising the frequency of dressing changes
Experts agree that initial wound dressings should ideally be left on as long as possible – at least seven days after surgery – provided there are no signs of excessive wound secretion or infection
Changing dressings less often may also help to reduce the risk of wound and peri-wound trauma and skin blistering
Choosing wound dressings
The ideal wound dressing should maintain a warm, moist healing environment – and manage exudate effectively so that the dressing can be left on the wound for as long as possible
To protect the periwound area and prevent skin blistering, a dressing should not adhere to the wound and gently to the surrounding skin. It should be easy to apply, easy to remove and flexible
Mölnlycke related products
Can you optimise healing with your post-operative dressing change protocol? Surgical care does not end when the surgery ends. Successful outcomes also depend on post-surgical incision care. Wound care dressings are a vital part of the healing equation because post-operative wounds are susceptible to infection and associated complications.
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