Surgical Infections and the Future of Research: Re-Defining the Research Agenda for the Surgical Infection Society

Patrick T. Delaplain, Haytham M.A. Kaafarani, L. Andrew O. Benedict, Christopher A. Guidry, Dennis Kim, Michele M. Loor, David Machado-Aranda, Tina S. Mele, April E. Mendoza, Gareth Morris-Stiff, Rishi Rattan, Jeffrey S. Upperman, Philip S. Barie, Sebastian D. Schubl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Infections represent a major component of surgical practice. Risk mitigation, seeking eradication and optimal patient outcomes, require a concerted, multifocal effort to understand disease and microbiology, prevent infections, and treat them. The present study was undertaken to re-define the Surgical Infection Society (SIS) research agenda for the next decade. Hypothesis: We utilized the expertise of the SIS membership to identify research questions regarding surgical infections, hypothesizing that consensus among participants could be used to re-define the future research agenda. Methods: Members of the SIS were surveyed using a modified Delphi. The three rounds of the survey were targeted at: question generation; question ranking; and reaching consensus. Each of the 15 questions to emerge was evaluated according to level of consensus, feasibility, and data availability. Results: One hundred twenty-four participants contributed. Initially, 226 questions were generated that were condensed to 35 unique questions for consideration in the subsequent two rounds. The 35 questions encompassed several research themes, with antibiotic prophylaxis (n = 8), prevention of surgical site infections (SSIs; n = 6), and improved diagnostics (n = 5) being most common. Standard deviation of importance scores was inversely proportional to the question rank, indicating greater consensus among higher ranking questions. All 15 questions had a feasibility score of greater than three (five-point Likert scale), and the majority (12/15) had a mean data availability score of less than three. In the final round of the survey, the top three topics for further research surrounded non-Antimicrobial treatments, optimal treatment duration for bacteremia, and treatment duration for necrotizing soft tissue infections. Conclusions: Using a modified Delphi process, 15 research questions addressing surgical infections were identified. Such questions can assist the SIS and the SIS Foundation for Research and Education in prioritizing and enabling research efforts, and development of a strategic research plan for the next decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical infections
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Delphi
  • hospital-Acquired infections
  • sepsis
  • Surgical Infection Society (SIS)
  • surgical infections
  • surgical site infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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