Over the past 1-2 years, Norman Regional Hospital has been leading an intense effort to reduce surgical site infections. Colon surgery, by its very nature, is one of the dirtiest elective surgeries performed. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to eliminate infections. In fact, the data often contradicts itself. I recently read an article showing an increase in hernia surgery infections if you use a pre-operative antibacterial soap despite almost everyone using these soaps. Also, a dedicated colorectal surgeon will operate on patients that are immunosuppressed, malnourished and in poor health routinely increasing infection rates. Our team along with a supportive administration has developed a colorectal surgery pathway that incorporates many different recommendations and regularly reviews physician compliance. I have been honored to participate with this team. Using a standardized program, that requires patient participation, we have seen a decrease in our infection rate despite seeing sicker patients. We have expanded this practice to our Saint Anthony’s patients as well.
Over the next few weeks, we will start looking at carbohydrate loading and immunomodulation to decrease our infection rate even more. It truly is an exciting time to be a colorectal surgeon!