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Surgical Care

Quality and Safety

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Information about your surgery

For more information about what you need to know if you are having surgery, see "Having Surgery: What You Need to Know" or consult Medline Plus.

Reducing the risk

Hospitals can improve surgical care and reduce the risk of wound infection after surgery by providing the right medicines at the right time on the day of surgery.

There are also steps that you, as a patient, can take to make sure the surgery is as safe as possible. For example, your doctor or nurse can tell you how to wash with an antibiotic soap the day before surgery. You can also give your doctor or nurse a list of all your medications, including vitamins, herbal medicines, and over-the-counter medications. You should also tell your doctor or nurse about any allergies and bad reactions to anesthesia.

Sometimes patients get an infection after surgery, even if the hospital took steps to prevent it. Here are signs to look out for:

  • The surgical wound is red, hot, and swollen.
  • You have a fever of over 100 degrees after you go home.
  • A smelly or yellow/green fluid is coming out of the wound.
  • Your pain is increasing even though you are taking pain medication.

Call your doctor or local hospital immediately if you have any of these signs

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