Skip to main content

Important Terms to Know: Surgical Wound Management

Practice Accelerator
September 22, 2023

Aseptic: A property that aims to eliminate the risk of transmission of all harmful microorganisms, such as in aseptic surgical procedures. Aseptic practices can prevent the cross-contamination of pathogens.

Bioburden: Normally defined as the number of bacteria living on a surface that has not been sterilized. The term is most often used in the context of bioburden testing, also known as microbial limit testing, which is a quality control test performed on medical devices and pharmaceutical products. 

Cross-contamination: The process of inadvertently transferring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, from one patient to another. Cross-contamination of post-operative wounds is a high risk for surgical patients. 

Culture: A laboratory test to identify organisms (and antibiotics) through growing and monitoring bacteria or other cells in a special growth medium. 

Dehiscence: The splitting or pulling apart of a surgical wound after it has been closed. 

How Much Do You Know About Surgical Wound Care? Take our quiz to find out! Click here.

Hematoma: The pooling of blood external to blood vessels. Hematomas are often the result of an injury. 

Hospital-acquired infection: Infections caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens acquired in the hospital. The most common types are bloodstream infection, pneumonia (eg, ventilator-associated pneumonia), urinary tract infection, and surgical site infection. 

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites with an associated host reaction. Signs of infection include redness, tenderness, warmth, odor, erythema, swelling, fever, pain, and increased white blood cells. 

Surgical wounds: Wounds related to surgical interventions. Surgical incisions are entry sites sutured or held together by a margin approximation dressing or device after an operative procedure. Dehisced surgical wounds are defined by the separation of the incision line before complete healing that results in an open wound. 

Surgical site infection (SSI): An infection of a surgical wound, tissue, or organ space adjacent to the wound occurring within 30 days of the procedure without involvement of the surgical implants and 90 days if an implant is involved. 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.