Before the mid-19th century, surgical patients commonly developed postoperative “irritative fever” followed by purulent discharge from their incision, overwhelming sepsis and often death. It was not until the late 1860s, after Joseph Lister introduced the principles of antisepsis that postoperative infection morbidity decreased substantially.
Among surgical patients, surgical wound infections are the most common nosocomial infections. Surgical wound infections occur within 30 days of procedure or within one year if implant is in place and has been classified into three according to wound location and into four according to degree of microbial contamination. Risk factors and management techniques have been identified. The pathogens isolated from surgical wound infections differ depending on the underlying problem, location and type of surgical procedure.
Surgical wound infections should be diagnosed and treated appropriately, to return patients home early and reduce morbidity. Surveillance of surgical wound infections with appropriate feedback would be desirable to reduce surgical wound infections rate.