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About Us - Our Performance - Surgical Site Infection (SSI) Prevention - Overview


Public Reporting of Surgical Site Infection (SSI) Prevention Percentages


All Ontario hospitals that perform hip and knee joint replacements, including total, partial, or hemi procedures are required by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) to publicly report their surgical site infection prevention (SSI-Prevention) percentages. 


Public reporting of surgical site infection (SSI) prevention for hip and knee joint replacement surgeries in Ontario hospitals will begin on April 30, 2009. Hospitals will post the percentage of hip/knee joint replacement surgical patients who receive antibiotics within the appropriate time period before the surgery on their website every three months (quarterly), and will also report their data to the MOHLTC. The Ministry will post this information on its public website. Mackenzie Health will be posting the same information on our website.


What is a surgical site infection?
A surgical site infection (SSI) occurs at the site of a surgical incision. Germs can get into the incision area, and cause an infection. It can develop within 30 days of an operation, or sometimes even up to one year if an implant (such as a knee or hip joint implant) is used.  


Infections can be minor, or occasionally they can increase complications that result in a longer length of stay in the hospital, or an increased re-admission rate for patients.  SSIs are the most common healthcare-associated infections in patients after surgery.


What are the symptoms of SSIs?

  • Increased soreness, pain, or tenderness at the surgical site.
  • A red streak, increased redness, or puffiness near the incision. 
  • Greenish-yellow or bad-smelling discharge from the incision.
  • Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher 
  • A tired feeling that doesn’t go away

Symptoms can appear at any time from hours to weeks after surgery. Implants such as an artificial knee or hip can become infected a year or more after the operation.


What are the risk factors for SSIs?
The risk of acquiring a surgical site infection is higher if you: 

  • Are an older adult 
  • Have a weakened immune system or other serious health problem such as diabetes 
  • Smoke 
  • Are malnourished (don’t eat enough healthy foods) 
  • Are very overweight 
  • Have a wound that is left open instead of closed with sutures

How are SSIs treated?
Most infections are treated with antibiotics - the type of medication will depend on the germ causing the infection. An infected skin wound may be reopened and cleaned. If an infection occurs where an implant is placed, the implant may be removed. If the infection is deep within the body, another operation may be needed to treat it.


Information for Patients and Visitors


SSI Fact Sheet for Patients and Visitors


Patient safety remains the most important priority for Mackenzie Health and this involves ensuring that patients are not at risk for contracting healthcare-associated infections.  We have a number of practices in place to help prevent surgical site infections, including administering antibiotics to patients at a certain time before their surgery.


What are healthcare-associated infections? 
Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called healthcare-associated infections.


What can patients do to help reduce their chances of infection? 

  • Follow the pre-operation instructions given to you by your surgeon and healthcare team.
  • Frequent hand cleaning is another way to prevent the spread of infection. Hand hygiene involves everyone in the hospital, including patients.

More patient-specific information is available at and, and


If you have any questions about our hospital’s infection prevention and control program, please contact Mackenzie Health Infection Prevention and Control Department at

Mackenzie Health / 10 Trench St. Richmond Hill, On. L4C 4Z3 / Richmond Hill Line: 905-883-1212 or Vaughan Line: 905-832-4554 / TTY Service: 905-883-2123