About Surgical Site Infections (SSI) - Minnesota Dept. of Health

About Surgical Site Infections (SSI)

A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place.  SSIs can be superficial infections involving only the skin or incision site or can be more serious and involve organs, bones, or implanted material (such as a joint).


Symptoms of SSI may include:

  • Redness and pain around the area where you had surgery
  • Drainage of cloudy fluid from your surgical wound
  • Fever

Contact your doctor if you have questions or think you may have a SSI.

SSI Prevention: What Can You Do?

Be involved!

  • Be an active member of your health care team.
  • Take part in every decision about your health care.
  • Clean your hands. Wash your own hands thoroughly - use soap and running water for 15 seconds -after blowing your nose, after using the toilet and before eating or touching food or use alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty.

Speak up!

  • Ask all health care workers and visitors who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
  • Make sure that all of your doctors know about the medication you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.

Resources for Patient Safety

  • Patient Resources on Healthcare-Associated Infections
    Frequently asked questions about common HAI from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. These include patient guides for the following: surgical site infection (SSI), central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).
  • MDH Patient Safety
    MDH website promoting patient safety and the prevention of adverse health events.

Updated Friday, 04-Dec-2020 16:07:26 CST