Why is surgical history important when cellulitis is present?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The surgical history may include a recent procedure that resulted in wound infection. For example, severe bacterial cellulitis may occur as a postsurgical complication following hip replacement [56] or liposuction. Alternatively, a remote surgical history involving lymph node dissection (eg, following either radical mastectomy or conservative breast surgery) may predispose to cellulitis, even years after the surgery, because of lymphatic occlusion. [57, 58, 59, 60] Impaired lymphatic drainage and edema are also considered predisposing factors to leg cellulitis following saphenous vein resection for coronary artery bypass. [22] In addition, the presence of foreign bodies, including indwelling IV catheters, external orthopedic pins, and other surgical devices, may predispose to infection.


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