5 Warning Signs of a Surgical Site Infection Following a Joint Replacement

Jul 01, 2023
5 Warning Signs of a Surgical Site Infection Following a Joint Replacement
If you’ve recently had joint replacement surgery, there’s a chance that your surgical site could become infected. Here’s how to recognize the telltale signs of surgical site infection.

Surgical site infections (SSI) are one of the most common complications of any surgery. However, they’re most often seen after joint replacement surgeries. Because this elective procedure is quickly becoming one of the most popular surgeries worldwide, it’s important to be aware how quickly the surgical site can become infected.

At the Texas Infectious Disease Institute located in Richardson, Texas, Serge Lartchenko, MD, leads our team with his expertise in SSIs. If you’ve recently undergone joint replacement surgery and you suspect you have an SSI, it’s extremely important to seek medical care to avoid further complications. Here are 5 warning signs that your surgical site is infected.

Cause of SSIs

Germs are the culprit of any SSI. When germs come into contact with your surgical site whether from someone’s contaminated hands or medical instruments or from germs from your body or the air, it can cause infection to your surgical site. The most common types of bacteria that cause infections are Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Pseudomonas. 

Your skin is meant to protect you from these types of infections. However, because your surgical site is a break in your skin, there’s always going to be a risk of infection no matter how many precautions are taken.

SSIs can be located right on the surface of your incision or they can be deep within your muscles and tissues below your incision. 

You may be at a higher risk for developing an SSI if you have diabetes, a weak immune system, or you’re obese.

Symptoms of SSIs

While symptoms of an SSI can vary from person to person, these are some common signs that your surgical site is infected:

  1. Warmth and redness
  2. Delayed healing
  3. Fever
  4. Pain and tenderness
  5. Swelling

Depending on how severe your infection is and where it’s located, you may also notice pus discharge or an abscess forming.

Treatment for SSIs

Texas Infectious Disease Institute has an outpatient center, making it easy to receive all the treatment you need in one convenient location. 

Most SSIs clear up with the use of antibiotics, whether with intravenous treatments or antibiotic combination therapy. Even then, it may take days or weeks for the infection to clear up completely.

If your case is complex, Dr. Lartchenko has the training and expertise needed in order to treat your infection no matter how complicated.

Next steps

If you’ve recently had a joint replacement surgery and you suspect that your surgical site is infected, don’t wait to seek medical attention from our team of experts. To schedule an appointment with us, you can give us a call at 469-960-4413 or use our online booking tool today.