Infections Rare in Outpatient Surgery Procedures, Study Finds

MONDAY, Feb. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of infections to the area of incision after outpatient surgery is low, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 300,000 patients in eight states who had low- to moderate-risk outpatient surgery in 2010. They looked at "surgical-site" infections, which occur around the area where the incision was made. The states were California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.

The rate of visits for treatment of surgical-site infections within 14 days after procedures was about 3.1 per 1,000 procedures, which increased to 4.8 per 1,000 within 30 days after surgery. Nearly 64 percent of all visits for surgical-site infections occurred within 14 days of the surgery. In about 93 percent of those cases, patients were admitted to the hospital.

Although the overall rate of surgical-site infections was low, the actual number of patients with such infections is high, said the authors of the study, which was published in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That most of the infections occurred within 14 days after surgery suggests that having doctors check on patients (by telephone, for example) shortly after surgery might lead to earlier detection and treatment of these infections, said study author Pamela Owens, of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and colleagues.

Surgical-site infections account for 20 percent to 30 percent of health-care-associated infections, according to background information in the study.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about surgical-site infections.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Feb. 18, 2014