Surgical site infections are unfortunately a relatively common risk facing patients. As many as two to five percent of surgeries involving incisions result in an infection of some kind, although the rates vary based on the type of procedure. Since sutures introduce foreign materials into the body and actually create additional wounds by puncturing the skin repeatedly, they are particularly susceptible to infection.
Infected stitches can pose a serious risk to patient recovery following surgery. Usually caused by bacteria that finds its way through the skin during or after a surgical procedure, infections typically become apparent within 30 days of surgery. By identifying the signs of infection early, patients can receive antibacterial treatment before the bacteria has a chance to spread beyond the wound site.
5 Signs Your Wound Isn’t Healing Right
Redness or Swelling
Some amount of redness and swelling around the wound site is normal following a procedure. The body takes a few days to fight off bacteria and other potential infections following exposure to the air. It does this by releasing white blood cells and forming blood clots to prepare the site for tissue repair. Your doctor can give you an idea of how much redness or swelling is normal, but if it persists for more than a week following surgery or gets worse, it could be a sign of a bacterial infection. Red streaks radiating out from the incision site is another indication that the wound could be infected.
Fever is one of the classic symptoms of both viral and bacterial infections. When bacteria infiltrate the body, one of your immune system’s primary responses is to increase your internal temperature in an attempt to kill off the intruders. As with redness and swelling, a slightly higher temperature following surgery isn’t unusual, but if the fever becomes increasingly severe or persists for more than a day or two, it could be a sign that your wound site has become infected.
A sure-fire sign of infection, any yellow, white, or green-colored discharge seeping from the wound that smells bad needs to be examined as quickly as possible. Also known as purulent drainage, this pus is distinct from ordinary drainage, which is typically clear or slightly yellow and usually clears up after a few days. Pus is a mixture of various forms of dead matter, including white blood cells, tissue, bacteria, or even fungus. While it is a good sign in the sense that it shows your body’s immune system is responding to a threat, the infection could easily spread and become far more serious without receiving medical attention.
Some level of pain is to be expected following any surgical procedure, but it should always be trending downward over time. Increased pain can result from renewed physical activity or from scaling back on pain medication, but these are easily identified causes. If the wound continues to hurt for no apparent reason or the pain level increases significantly over time, an infection is the most likely culprit. By reporting pain levels accurately to your physician throughout the recovery process, potential infections can be identified and treated before they can get any worse.
When an infection develops in or around an incision site, the body’s immune system produces white blood cells to combat the bacteria. All of the energy used to fight off the infection generates heat, which increases the temperature of the surrounding skin. Like swelling and redness, some level of heat is normal immediately following surgery. If the area around the incision site becomes or remains hot to the touch more than a few days after surgery, the wound could very well be infected even if no other symptoms are immediately evident. Keeping your doctor informed about the status of the wound can help to avert any future complications resulting from infection.
Reduce Infection Risks With BandGrip
As a non-invasive wound closure method, BandGrip Micro-Anchor Wound Closures can help to reduce infections and facilitate faster healing. Equipped with patented micro-anchor technology that grips the skin to close wounds quickly and securely, BandGrip makes better wound alignment possible without introducing any foreign materials into the body. This eliminates the need for additional treatments following surgery and makes it easier for the body to heal itself naturally.
With its smooth surface and flexibility, BandGrip allows patients to resume regular activity after surgery more quickly than would be possible with sutures or staples. BandGrip can be easily applied by any medical professional and doesn’t require a return visit for removal. Since the wound edges are held firmly together, scarring is less severe and the risk of wound dehiscence is greatly reduced.
Although sutures and staples have long been the preferred closure modalities, many surgeons are turning to BandGrip as a faster, safer alternative. Using BandGrip to reduce the risk of infected stitches helps to ensure that patients have an easy recover that won’t be derailed by a return to the hospital to receive antibacterial treatments.