The term ‘surgical site infection’ (SSI) was introduced in 1992 to replace the previous term ‘surgical wound infection’. SSIs are defined as infections occurring within 30 days after a surgical operation (or within one year if an implant left in place after the procedure) at the surgical. These infections are classified as superficial, deep tissue or organ space infections.



SSIs remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality comprising of 20% of all healthcare-associated infections and at least 5% of all patients undergoing surgery develop an SSI. Despite improvements in infection control techniques and surgical practice it imposes substantial demands on healthcare resources. Continual vigilance is therefore required to minimise the incidence of such infections. This requires a systematic approach as the majority of surgical site infections are preventable in relation to the patient, the procedure, and the hospital environment. It is important that healthcare professionals adhere to best practice to prevent and manage surgical site infection.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Team
Ratified by: Surgical Site Infection Oversight Committee
Date Ratified: March 2022
Date Issued: March 2022
Review Date: March 2025
Target Audience: All Trust staff
Contact name: Anna Thompson Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Lead Nurse


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