Postoperative wound infections: Risk factors and role of Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage

T. M. Perl, M. C. Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In the United States the rate of postoperative wound infection varies from one to nine per cent, depending on the surgical procedure. Each postoperative wound infection increases the length of stay in hospital, the cost of the procedure and is associated with significant morbidity. Staphylococcus aureus is the causative agent in 15 to 20% of these infections, although the pathogen isolated varies according to the surgical site. Risk factors for acquiring an infection can be divided into the following categories: host factors, surgical and environmental factors, and microbial characteristics. Host factors which may contribute to an increased risk of infection include: age, prolonged pre-operative length of stay, and concurrent infection at another body site. Increased infection risk may result from an extended surgical procedure, the wound classification, the use of a razor for hair removal before surgery and may also be dependent on the surgeon's technical skill. Microbial factors related to the risk of developing an infection postoperatively are less well defined, however, many outbreaks of surgical wound infections have been linked to personnel carrying an organism which is then transmitted to the patient. Furthermore, patients who carry intranasal S. aureus have a two- to ten-fold increased likelihood of developing a postoperative wound infection due to S. aureus. Identification of patients most at risk of developing an infection is the ultimate goal, however, risk indices must be highly sensitive, specific and accurate. To summarise, the epidemiology of postoperative wound infections remains poorly studied, however, since wound infections contribute significantly to morbidity, mortality and cost, future research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemotherapy
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Nasal carriage
  • Postoperative wound infection
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Surgical wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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