Surgical site infections (SSI) occur when harmful germs enter a patient’s body through the surgical site (any cut the surgeon makes in the skin to perform the operation). Infections happen because germs are everywhere – on the skin, in the air and on things individuals touch. Most infections are caused by germs found on and in a patient’s body. One of the ways to prevent surgical site infections is by giving patients antibiotics 0 to 60 minutes (for usual antibiotics) or 0 to 120 minutes (for an antibiotic known as vancomycin) before they go into surgery.
Hospitals are now required to post the percentage of hip/knee joint replacement surgical patients who received antibiotics within the appropriate time period before the surgery on their website.