Incidence of Surgical Site Infections in Second Intention Healing After Dermatologic Surgery

Joshua Schimmel, Matthew Belcher, Carlos Vieira, Naomi Lawrence, Ashley Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: There are few studies analyzing the surgical site infection (SSI) rate of second intention wounds after dermatologic surgery, and the results are inconclusive. Yet, the current dogma in dermatologic surgery is that wounds healed by second intention have lower infection rates. OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of SSI and associated pathogenic organisms of second intention wounds compared with sutured wounds after skin cancer extirpation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients who had either Mohs micrographic surgery or wide local excision (WLE) for skin cancer extirpation between 2012 and 2016. Wounds were stratified by closure type, location, and associated organisms. Infection was diagnosed by a positive wound culture. RESULTS: The overall infection rate was 3.9%. The infection rate for sutured and second intention wounds was 3.2% and 6.8%, respectively. Second intention wounds were associated with a significantly higher risk of infection compared with sutured wounds (odds ratio = 2.22, 95% confidence interval 1.63-2.99). The lower extremity (LE) had the highest overall infection rate (10.5%). The face had the lowest overall infection rate (2.5%). CONCLUSION: Mohs micrographic surgery or WLE performed on the LE or lesions allowed to heal by second intention has an increased risk of SSI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1497
Number of pages6
JournalDermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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