Breast surgery patients develop infections at incision site

By Xinhua

Beijing : More than 5 percent of patients undergoing breast surgery later develop infections at the incision site, according to a U.S. study in Monday’s Archives of Surgery.

Support TwoCircles

Moreover, the surgical site infection rates following breast removal surgery and other breast procedures range from 1 percent to 28 percent, said the study.

“The surgical site infection rates following breast surgery seem to be much greater than the nationally reported incidence of 2 percent and much higher than what is expected for clean surgical procedures,” said the lead author Margaret Olsen of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Olsen and colleagues studied 949 patients who have mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) or breast reconstruction procedures at a university-affiliated hospital between 1999 and 2002.

They found that 5.3 percent, or 50, of them developed infections within a year of their procedures, either inside or outside of the hospital. The average time between surgery and infection was 47 days.

The patients not only suffer physically and mentally, but also financially, as the study authors said the cost of the follow-up medical care is roughly 4,000 U.S. dollars per patient.

“Given the state of fiscal constraints within the U.S. health care system, it is important to calculate the cost-effectiveness of infection control interventions to justify their use from an economic perspective,” authors wrote in the study.

In order to reduce the incidence of surgical site infection in those patients, the authors concluded some strategies in the report, including “to optimize timing and dosage of prophylactic antibiotics administered before the surgical incision, glucose control in diabetic patients, promotion of meticulous hand hygiene and to promote timely removal of drains.”

“Interventions to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections following breast cancer surgical procedures are essential to reduce not only morbidity in these patient populations but also costs to the individuals and to society,” the authors added.