Post-Surgical Instructions-Fever and Infection

Intermittent low-grade fevers for the first two days following surgery are normal. If a patient’s temperature reaches 101 degrees, if the patient has chills, is not eating or drinking well, or if there are concerns about infection, Dr. Maranon should be contacted immediately.

Wound infections can rarely occur. These typically occur after the third or fourth post-surgical day.  Infections are accompanied by fevers, worsening swelling, and worsening pain or redness at the surgical sites. Fevers are usually higher than 101 degrees and persist for a few days. Swelling can occur in the mouth or be visible on the outside. Patients may also notice drainage of fluid, a bad taste in their mouth, or bad breath. Food or debris in the extraction site can be a source of infections. Infections must be suspected after an initial uneventful recovery or if a patient’s condition should worsen after initial improvement. In patients that had infections before surgery, persistent wound infections may not show improvement after surgery or antibiotic therapy. Cultures of the surgical site to determine bacteria responsible for the infection may need to be analyzed in the laboratory to determine the antibiotic therapy necessary to fight the infection.

Patients that are at risk for infection frequently have had chronic problems with infections at the surgical sites, or have been previously prescribed multiple courses of antibiotics for infections. Other patients that are at risk for infection include patients with medical conditions that compromise the immune system (diabetes, on long-term steroid treatment or with organ transplants), patients on steroid or other immunosuppressant medications, smokers, patients with poor oral hygiene and who have dental or periodontal disease, and patients with poor nutrition or who are in poor health.

Treatment of infections may require longer courses of antibiotics or multiple antibiotics. Occasionally, patients may require additional surgery to drain the infection. On the rarest of occasions, hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and observation may be necessary.

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