Postoperative wound infection rates in dermatologic surgery

Dermatol Surg. 1995 Jun;21(6):509-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1995.tb00255.x.


Background: Multiple factors related to the nature of the surgical procedure can influence the risk of wound infection in dermatologic surgery. Despite that, wound infection rates in dermatologic surgical procedures are believed to be low.

Objective: This study was conducted: 1) to determine wound infection rates in Mohs and excisional surgery; and 2) to investigate if factors such as lesion type, anatomic location, postoperative defect size, number of Mohs stages required to achieve a tumor-free plane, and the type of reconstructive procedure influence the rate of surgical wound infections.

Results: Wound infection rate for 530 Mohs procedures and 517 excisions combined was 2.29%, falling within the predicted range for "clean" surgical procedures. In addition, Mohs procedures performed on the ear as well as large postoperative defects were found to have a higher rate of wound infections.

Conclusion: Dermatologic surgery can be safely performed in an outpatient setting without a significant risk of infection. Certain anatomic sites, such as the ear, as well as size of postoperative defect, are important factors in predicting the risk of postoperative wound infection.

MeSH terms

  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Ear Neoplasms / surgery
  • Ear, External / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mohs Surgery / adverse effects
  • Mohs Surgery / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Skin Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgery, Plastic / adverse effects
  • Surgery, Plastic / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Flaps / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Sutures