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Learn about your painful surgical site, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your painful surgical site from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Painful Surgical Site Checker

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Your Painful Surgical Site May Also be Known as:
Pain after surgery
Pain at surgical site
Pain under surgical scar
Post-operational pain

Top 10 Painful Surgical Site Causes

  1. 1.Normally Healing Surgical Site

    Depending on the depth of a surgery, the surgeon has to reconnect multiple layers of your body. The healing process is slow as each of these layers have to mend together. Infection is a concern during this time as the skin is not acting as a barrier anymore; however, proper management can minimize the risk of infection.

    You can continue to let the healing process continue by keeping the surgical site dry, clean, and with proper dressing as suggested by your surgeon.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    still healing surgical site, painful surgical site, stable surgical site, improving surgical site, pink or clear fluid coming from the site
    Symptoms that always occur with normally healing surgical site:
    still healing surgical site
    Symptoms that never occur with normally healing surgical site:
    pus leakage from a recent surgical site, re-opening of a surgical site
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Surgical Site Infection

    After surgery, the repair of the incision can become infected with bacteria.

    You should go to the ER.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, still healing surgical site, painful surgical site, fluid leakage from a recent surgical site, poorly healing surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with surgical site infection:
    still healing surgical site
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  3. 3.Acute Ankle Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the ankle is a bacterial or fungal infection of the ankle bones, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    moderate fever, spontaneous ankle pain, constant ankle pain, warm red ankle swelling, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with acute ankle bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous ankle pain, constant ankle pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Shoulder Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone. It can be acute or chronic.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, warm and red shoulder swelling, moderate fever, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with shoulder bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Chronic Bone Infection of the Shoulder (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the shoulder is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, warm and red shoulder swelling, moderate fever, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic bone infection of the shoulder (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

    Painful Surgical Site Checker

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  6. 6.Chronic Upper Arm Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the upper arm is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, moderate fever, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic upper arm bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  7. 7.Upper Arm Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the upper arm is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    constant upper arm pain, spontaneous upper arm pain, moderate fever, warm red upper arm swelling, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with upper arm bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    constant upper arm pain, spontaneous upper arm pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Acute Forearm Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the forearm is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous forearm pain, constant forearm pain, moderate fever, warm and red forearm swelling, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with acute forearm bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous forearm pain, constant forearm pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Chronic Forearm Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the forearm is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous forearm pain, moderate fever, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic forearm bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous forearm pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Chronic Bone Infection of the Hand (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the hand is a bacterial or fungal infection of the hand bones, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER, where diagnosis of osteomyelitis can be established through x-rays and culturing fluids. Treatment involves antibiotics and removing the infected tissue (by surgery).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous hand pain
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic bone infection of the hand (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous hand pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Painful Surgical Site

  • Q.How is the surgical site changing?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.How severe is your abdominal pain?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our painful surgical site symptom checker.

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Painful Surgical Site Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced painful surgical site have also experienced:

    • 3% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 3% Lower Back Pain
    • 3% Nausea
  • People who have experienced painful surgical site were most often matched with:

    • 22% Normally Healing Surgical Site
    • 17% Surgical Site Infection
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Painful Surgical Site Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having painful surgical site.

Take a quiz