Guideline April 2019 – Surgical site infections: prevention and treatment

This guideline covers preventing and treating surgical site infections in adults, young people and children who are having a surgical procedure involving a cut through the skin. It focuses on methods used before, during and after surgery to minimise the risk of infection. The guideline includes new and updated recommendations on:

  • Nasal decolonisation before surgery
  • Antiseptic skin preparation during surgery
  • Antiseptics and antibiotics before wound closure
  • Methods of wound closure
  • Information for patients and carers:
    • what happens before surgery
    • what happens during surgery
    • what happens after surgery
    • treating surgical site infection and specialist wound care services.

During the consultation period for this guideline, stakeholders raised the use of preoperative prophylactic antibiotics plus mechanical bowel preparation, to reduce surgical site infections in adults undergoing elective colorectal surgery. As this was outside the scope for this update, we completed an exceptional review in April 2019 and decided a further update was needed. This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG74 (2008).