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Am J Surg. 1996 Jul;172(1):68-74.

Surgical infections: prevention and treatment--1965 to 1995.

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Department of Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


During the 30 year period from 1965-1995, significant advances have been made in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of surgical infections. To a great degree these advances have been provided by surgeons who developed a primary interest in this area. The Surgical Infection Society (SIS) was established in 1980 for surgeons and other physicians and scientists in order to better coordinate efforts in education and research concerning the infected surgical patient. The most significant of these advances were initially the accurate microbiologic definition of the human endogenous microflora in health and disease. Improvements in the techniques utilized to isolate and identity anaerobic microorganisms were of paramount importance. These lead to improvements in the choice of antibiotic agents for prophylaxis and treatment which resulted in improved clinical results. Most recently, emphasis has been placed on the perioperative identification of the high-risk patient who is more likely to develop infection in the postoperative period. By separating high-risk from low-risk patients in each operative procedure, rather than assuming their risk based on the traditional classification of surgical procedure, a more rationale plan of prospective alterations of treatment can be offered.

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