At Encompass HealthCare, we diagnose and treat all non-healing surgical wounds. Some surgical wounds can become infected.
Surgical wounds can result from post-surgery infections located at any point from the incision site down to the bone or around implanted surgical hardware. Surgical wounds are among the most common cause of non-healing wounds. Examples include wounds resulting from surgeries to the knee, shoulder, heart, gallbladder, uterus, breast and other body parts where hardware is implanted into the body.
If the wound becomes infected, it is likely that the bacteria could travel down to the hardware, become attached to the hardware and stop the infection from resolving.
Sometimes, when antibiotic treatment fails to heal the infection, the hardware must be removed in order to allow the infection to resolve. Interestingly enough, the body manufactures white blood cells whose sole job is to fight off infection. In fact the ratio of white blood cells to bacteria is 10,000 to 1, which means for every bacterium (a single cell of bacteria,) 10,000 white blood cells are made to fight off just that one!
This is why it is actually difficult for the body to acquire an infection unless one or more of the following co-morbidities are present: diabetes, vascular disease, edema, malnutrition, older age, high blood pressure, and other factors that suppress the immune system.
Signs and Symptoms
Surgical wounds are watched closely for signs of infection. They include:
- Redness around the wound
- The skin around the wound is hot to the touch
- Drainage that is cloudy, discolored or foul smelling
- Increased pain to the area
- The wound is larger or deeper
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