Surgical wound infection

Signs of Infection After Surgery

If you are recovering from surgery, you may be concerned about establishing an infection in your incision or in your blood. Taking the appropriate steps to prevent an infection is necessary, but doing all the right things after surgery does not ensure that you will be infection-free.

Self Checking for Symptoms

In the first few weeks after surgery, inspect your incision daily for signs of infection in surgical wound. You may likewise wish to take your temperature daily, preferably at the very same time of day, to recognize an infection earlier than you might otherwise.

It is possible to develop an infection in a place other than your incision after surgery. Urinary tract infections are common after surgery, particularly in patients who had a urinary catheter during or after their procedure.

If you do establish an infection or think that you might have an infection, it is very important that you have the ability to identify it immediately. That method your surgeon can offer antibiotics and other treatments that are needed to prevent the infection from dispersing.

Types of Infection

While an infection in an incision or the urinary tract are the most typical infections after having surgery, it is likewise possible to have pneumonia, a major lung infection. Surgery patients are at a greater risk than the average person to establish pneumonia, so the advancement of a cough in the days following the procedure should not be overlooked.

Similarly, severe diarrhea ought to not be ignored after surgery.

C. difficile is a bacteria that can become a concern in the digestive tract after taking antibiotics– with or without surgery– and can end up being extremely severe if neglected.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Malaise: One of the most typical symptoms of a systemic infection, or an infection that is moving through your body, is that you will feel tired and lacking in energy. You may sleep more than usual, or not feel up to doing your normal activities. These feelings are likewise typical for patients who are recovering from surgery who do not have an infection. The difference is that when recuperating from surgery, the majority of people feel a bit much better every day, rather than feeling much better for a couple of days then suddenly feeling tired and lethargic, as can happen with infection.
  • Fever: A fever is frequently accompanied by feeling cooled. A fever can also decrease your cravings, cause dehydration and a headache. A low-grade fever (100 F or less) prevails in the days following surgery, a fever of 101 or more must be reported to the surgeon.

Symptoms of an Infected Surgical Incision

  • Hot incision: An infected cut may feel hot to the touch. This happens as the body sends infection-fighting blood cells to the site of infection. Proper care of your surgical cut plays a considerable role in preventing infection.
  • Swelling/hardening of the incision: An infected cut may begin to harden as the tissue beneath are irritated. The incision itself may start to appear swollen or puffy as well.
  • Inflammation: A cut that gets red, or has red streaks radiating from it to the surrounding skin might be infected. Some redness is normal at the cut site, however it needs to reduce in time, rather than becoming redder as the incision heals.
  • Drainage from the incision: Foul-smelling drainage or pus might begin to appear on an infected incision. It can range in color from blood-tinged to green, white or yellow. The drainage from an infected injury might also be thick, and in rare cases, chunky.
  • Pain: Your pain should slowly and gradually decrease as you heal. If your pain level at the surgery site increases for no obvious factor, you might be developing an infection in the wound. It is normal for increased pain if you “exaggerate it” with activity or you decrease your pain medication, but a substantial and unexplained boost in pain should be discussed with your surgeon.
  • Pain with urination: A urinary tract infection is a typical issue after surgery. Burning with urination, seriousness, needing to urinate often and lower abdominal pain can show there is a problem with your urinary tract.

When to See a Doctor

An infection can become a very serious problem. Dangerous infections can start with a very little area of infection, such as an infected tooth or even a small wound on the skin. A urinary tract infection can likewise end up being sepsis, an infection that starts to spread out through the bloodstream. Sepsis can end up being septic shock, which is a life-threatening infection that decreases blood pressure and can lead to organ failure. When septic shock exists, extensive care is needed to support the patient up until the infection can be controlled.


Last modified: January 21, 2018

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