Surgical-site infection in gynecologic surgery: pathophysiology and prevention

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Surgical-site infections (SSIs) represent a well-known cause of patient morbidity as well as added health care costs. In gynecologic surgery, particularly hysterectomy, SSIs are often the result of a number of risk factors that may or may not be modifiable. As both the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations have identified SSIs as a patient safety priority, gynecologic surgeons continue to seek out the most effective interventions for SSI prevention. This review studies the epidemiology and pathophysiology of SSIs in gynecologic surgery and evaluates the current literature regarding possible interventions for SSI prevention, both as individual measures and as bundles. Data from the obstetrical and general surgery literature will be reviewed when gynecological data are either unclear or unavailable. Practitioners and hospitals may use this information as they develop strategies for SSI prevention in their own practice.

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