MONDAY, Oct. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Smoking is associated with increased rates of postoperative wound disruption and subsequent reoperation among patients undergoing free flap reconstruction of the head and neck, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Meghan M. Crippen, M.D., from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, and colleagues analyzed the risk associated with smoking in 2,193 patients undergoing free flap surgery of the head and neck using data from the National Quality Improvement Program (2005 to 2014).

The researchers found that 28.5 percent of patients had a history of recent smoking. Smoking status was independently associated with wound disruption (odds ratio, 1.74) and unplanned reoperation (odds ratio, 1.5) after adjustment for demographic variables and patient comorbidities. A longer smoking history, measured in pack-years, was significantly associated with higher rates of numerous comorbidities but not with a corresponding increased rate of complications.

“These risks were independent of pack-years of smoking history, suggesting that both risks were associated with perioperative smoke exposure, and preoperative smoking cessation may be of benefit,” conclude the authors.

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