Terms to Know: Surgical Wounds

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Abscess: Inflamed tissue surrounding a localized gathering of pus, often caused by infection.

Antimicrobial resistance: The process that occurs when bacteria, fungi, and parasites (microorganisms) change over time and no longer respond to antimicrobial medications. This resistance makes it more difficult to treat infections and increases the risk of spreading diseases that result in severe illness and death.

Antimicrobial stewardship: Collective measures that are taken to slow the evolution of multidrug-resistant organisms.

Cellular/tissue-based products: Products, commonly derived from cadavers or other human and other animal cells, that can aid in closing dehisced surgical wounds by providing a substitute for the skin to act as a barrier while healing.

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

Hematoma: The pooling of blood external to blood vessels.

Microbiome: The skin microbiome describes the regular flora and fauna on the human skin, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and arthropods. Although normal levels are found on intact skin, the proliferation of microbiotic organisms on a post-operative wound can lead to a surgical site infection.

Negative pressure wound therapy: The use of a sealed wound dressing attached to a gentle vacuum pump. This therapy draws fluid away from the wound and can help manage bioburden levels on a surgical wound, thus reducing the risk of developing a surgical site infection.

Nosocomial infection: An infection or condition that originates or is acquired in a hospital. Surgical site infections are considered to be nosocomial.

Seroma: A buildup of serum, or body fluids, in a 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 surgical implants and one year 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, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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