Surgical Site Infections in Colorectal Resections: What is the Cost?

Published:November 22, 2022DOI:



      Although surgical site infections (SSIs) associated with colectomy are tracked by the National Healthcare Safety Network/Center for Disease Control, untracked codes, mainly related to patients undergoing proctectomy, are not. These untracked codes are performed less often yet they may be at a greater risk of SSI due to their greater complexity. Determining the impact and predictors of SSI are critical in the development of quality improvement initiatives.


      Following an institutional review board approval, National Surgery Quality Improvement Program, institutional National Surgery Quality Improvement Program, and financial databases were queried for tracked colorectal resections and untracked colorectal resections (UCR). National data were obtained for January 2019-December 2019, and local procedures were identified between January 2013 and December 2019. Data were analyzed for preoperative SSI predictors, operative characteristics, outcomes, and 30-day postdischarge costs (30dPDC).


      Nationally, 71,705 colorectal resections were identified, and institutionally, 2233 patients were identified. UCR accounted for 7.9% nationally and 11.8% of all colorectal resections institutionally. Tracked colorectal resection patients had a higher incidence of SSI predictors including sepsis, hypoalbuminemia, coagulopathy, hypertension, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class. UCR patients had a higher rate of SSIs [12.9% (P < 0.001), 15.2% (P = 0.064)], readmission, and unplanned return to the operating room. Index hospitalization and 30dPDC were significantly higher in patients experiencing an SSI.


      SSI was associated with nearly a two-fold increase in index hospitalization costs and six-fold in 30dPDC. These data suggest opportunities to improve hospitalization costs and outcomes for patients undergoing UCR through protocols for SSI reduction and preventing readmissions.


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