Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Updated Recommendations for Control of Surgical Site Infections

Alexander, J. Wesley MD, ScD; Solomkin, Joseph S. MD; Edwards, Michael J. MD

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31821175f8

Objective: The objective of this study is to provide updated guidelines for the prevention of surgical wound infections based upon review and interpretation of the current and past literature.

Background: The development and treatment of surgical wound infections has always been a limiting factor to the success of surgical treatment. Although continuous improvements have been made, surgical site infections continue to occur at an unacceptable rate, annually costing billions of dollars in economic loss caused by associated morbidity and mortality.

Methods: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided extensive recommendations for the control of surgical infections in 1999. Review of the current literature with interpretation of the findings has been done to update the recommendations.

Results: New and sometimes conflicting studies indicate that coordination and application of techniques and procedures to decrease wound infections will be highly successful, even in patients with very high risks.

Conclusions: This review suggests that uniform adherence to the proposed guidelines for the prevention of surgical infections could reduce wound infections significantly; namely to a target of less than 0.5% in clean wounds, less than 1% in clean contaminated wounds and less than 2% in highly contaminated wounds and decrease related costs to less than one-half of the current amount.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article.Current recommendations for prevention of surgical site infections (SSI) have been made after review and interpretation of the current literature. It should be possible to reduce wound infections by at least 50%.

From the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Reprints: J. Wesley Alexander, MD, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267. E-mail:

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF version of this article on the journal's web file (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.