Our Surgical Wound Infection Rates Far Better Than National Average

Nemours' Surgical Wound Infection Rates Far Better Than National Average

When your child needs any kind of operation performed by Nemours surgeons, you can rest assured that you’re getting top-notch surgical care from some of the best pediatric surgical specialists in the field. In fact, we’re a national leader in surgical results and overall quality of surgical care.

One of the major ways we’re able to keep tabs on how we’re doing is by tracking the number of surgical wound complications for both inpatient and outpatient procedures (operations done on children staying in the hospital, as well as those who are able to go right home after surgery).

Of course, when your child needs a surgical procedure you probably don’t think twice about infections of surgical wounds. Why would you? You’re likely just focusing on the operation itself and hoping it helps fix whatever’s going on in your child’s body.

But when your child gets an everyday cut or scrape it’s important to clean the area, put antibacterial ointment on it, and cover it with a bandage to prevent an infection. When it comes to an operation, preventing wound infections is essential because it means a faster recovery and a shorter hospital stay.

Preventing Surgical Wound Infections


Nationally, there are two infections for every 100 procedures. Our record at Nemours is far better. In 2009, we had less than one infection for every 100 procedures. In other words, the national average is 100 percent higher than ours.

We’re also pleased to report that by the end of 2009 our “post-operative wound infection rate” (that’s the number of infections after surgery) was 22 percent lower than it was in 2008. So we’re always improving on our already-low rates.


Nemours' Surgical Wound Infection Rate

How We Do It

It’s been shown that one of the most important ways to avoid surgical wound infections is giving patients preventive antibiotics (called “prophylactic antibiotics”) to keep infections from setting in. We do this in selected cases where these antibiotics have proven to make a difference in infections. Our surgeons, surgical nurse practitioners, nurses, and anesthesiologists all work together to make sure that those kids get the antibiotics they need when they need them.

When the antibiotics are given is key to how well they work. According to national guidelines, antibiotics should be administered within 1 hour of when these select surgeries begin. If the surgery is longer than 3 hours, the antibiotics will also typically need to be given again during the operation. How or whether they’re given after the procedure also matters. When necessary, we usually give antibiotics within 24 hours after the surgery ends.

At Nemours, we’re also exceeding the national goal (of at least 90%) when it comes to giving antibiotics at the right time. For 2009, we administered IV antibiotics within the recommended first 60 minutes before surgery in 97% of our operations. And through the end of June 2010, we were at 98% — that’s well beyond the national goals given to all hospitals.

Our Vast Surgical Experience

Making every effort to prevent surgical wound infections is just one of the ways Nemours’ surgeons offer a top-notch experience for all of our patients. From 2006 through 2009, we performed nearly 71,000 surgeries across all of our Nemours health care locations combined, including:

  • outpatient surgeries (when kids go home the same day as their operation)
  • inpatient operations (when children need to stay in the hospital overnight)
  • surgeries at our partner hospitals

Whether your child requires a minor surgery like ear tubes, or a more involved operation like brain surgery, you can trust that the highly-skilled, experienced Nemours staff will take care of your child as one of their own.