Obesity and perioperative complications in head and neck free tissue reconstruction

Gabriel de la Garza, Oleg Militsakh, Aru Panwar, Tabitha L. Galloway, Jeffrey B. Jorgensen, Levi G. Ledgerwood, Katelyn Kaiser, Collin Kitzerow, Yelizaveta Shnayder, Colin A. Neumann, Samir S. Khariwala, W. Chad Spanos, Nitin A. Pagedar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background Free tissue transfer is a mainstay in reconstruction of complex head and neck defects. The purpose of this study was to determine if perioperative complications were more common in patients with body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2 undergoing free flap reconstruction. Methods A multi-institutional retrospective cohort was created. Medical complications, surgical complications, and procedural variables were recorded. Logistic regression was used to investigate univariate and multivariate associations between outcomes and predictors. Results Of 582 cases, 128 patients (22%) had BMI >30. Surgical complications occurred in 153 cases (26.3%), with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for association of surgical complications with BMI >30 of 0.92 (p =.71). Medical complications occurred in 178 cases (30.6%), with an adjusted OR of 0.78 (p =.26). Age and advanced comorbidity status (Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 [ACE-27] 2 or 3) were associated with medical complications (p <.0001). Conclusion BMI >30 does not predict medical or surgical complications in patients undergoing head and neck free flap surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1188-E1191
JournalHead and Neck
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

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© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..


  • complications
  • free flap
  • obesity
  • outcomes
  • reconstruction


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