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Facts About Infection Control at Hospital for Special Surgery

Surgeons in the operating room

As you may have seen this week, several news shows aired segments about a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation on how doctors at other hospitals may be using contaminated surgical tools. At Hospital for Special Surgery, infection prevention and control is particularly important because we are a specialized hospital treating a high volume of orthopedic surgical patients. HSS has implemented several efficient and effective processes to address the issue, and we have been very successful. See below for some facts about infection control and our Central Sterile Processing Department.

  • Joint replacements are performed skillfully and quickly, with an average surgical time of 1.5 hours. The shorter the surgery, the less chance there is of infection.
  • Almost all joint replacements are conducted under regional anesthesia. This technique, pioneered at HSS, reduces the chance of having a surgical infection by 50%.
  • Each of our uniquely-designed operating rooms are equipped with a high-tech air filtration system designed especially for surgery, which directs the air flow away from the operation, reducing the risk of infection, as it simultaneously cleanses and replenishes the air.
  • Surgeons wear specially-designed hooded protective suits to maintain the strictest sterile environment in the operating rooms.
  • A larger and more contemporary central sterile supply department was constructed with separate elevators dedicated to transporting supplies to and from surgical suites. Seven automated state-of-the-art washing disinfectors and a wide variety of cleaning tools help us to achieve maximum cleanliness. Every sterilization cycle is monitored using a biological and chemical indicator test. Loads are reviewed by a trained and certified central sterile processing (CSP) technician who verifies that all parameters for appropriate sterilization have been achieved. All instruments are inspected and carefully reviewed for functionality and soil through stringent processes and best practices before sterile products are delivered to perioperative areas.
  • Cleaning our hands before administering care (either with soap and water or a special antibacterial hand gel) is still one of the best ways to prevent infection and keep you safe while you’re in the hospital.
  • One important way to prevent infection is to administer the right antibiotic at the right time before surgery.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.