J Korean Med Assoc.  2007 Oct;50(10):908-914. 10.5124/jkma.2007.50.10.908.

Surgical Site Infection and Surveillance

  • 1Department of Surgery, Keimyung University College of Medicine, Korea. tjlim@dsmc.or.kr


During the second half of the 19th century many operations were developed after anesthesia was introduced but advances were limited for many years because of the high rate of infection and the high mortality rate that followed infections. After the introduction of the principle of antisepsis, postoperative infectious morbidity decreased substantially. With the introduction of antibiotic therapy in the middle of the 20th century, a new adjunctive method to treat and prevent surgical infections was discovered. However, not only have postoperative wound and hospital required infections continued, but widespread antibiotic therapy has often made prevention and control of surgical infections more difficult. Based on National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) system reports, SSIs (Surgical Site Infections) are the third most common nosocomial infection, accounting for 14% to 16% of all nosocomial infections among hospitalized patients. It is also a significant source of postoperative morbidity, resulting in increased hospital length of stay and increased cost. Determination of risk factors for the development of SSI has been a major focus of surgical research. To reduce the rate of SSIs we have to eliminate risk factors of SSIs and keep a continuous surveillance with feedback of information to surgeons and other relevant staff. A successful SSI surveillance program includes standardized definition of infection, effective surveillance method, and stratification of the SSIs rates according to risk factors. Because SSIs may be the most preventable of nosocomial infections, health care facilities should make special efforts to reduce the risk of development of these surgical complications. The evaluation of infection control programs and the development of more effective infection control strategies should be established and surgeons should be more concern about SSI control.


SSI; Risk factors; Surveillance; Nosocomial infection; CDC's NNIS system

MeSH Terms

Cross Infection
Delivery of Health Care
Infection Control
Length of Stay
Risk Factors
Wounds and Injuries
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