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Table 1 Health protection agency definition of superficial surgical site infection

From: The effect of triclosan coated sutures on rate of Surgical Site Infection after hip and knee replacement: a protocol for a double-blind randomised controlled trial

Superficial incisional infection  
SSI that occurs within 30 days of surgery, involves only the skin or subcutaneous tissue of the incision & meets at least one of the following criteria:  
1. Purulent drainage from superficial incision
2. Culture of organisms and pus cells present:
  fluid/tissue from superficial incision wound swab from superficial incision
3. At least 2 symptoms of inflammation:
  Pain, tenderness, localised swelling, redness, heat and either:
  1) Incision deliberately opened to manage infection
  or
  2) Clinicians diagnosis of superficial SSI
  1. Note: Stitch abscesses (minimal inflammation/discharge at suture point) do not classify as SSI.