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Impact of pre-operative body mass index in head and neck cancer patients undergoing microvascular reconstruction

  • D-J Hyun (a1), Y-H Joo (a2) and M-S Kim (a2)



To analyse the relationship of pre-operative body mass index with surgical complications and oncological outcomes in patients undergoing microvascular reconstruction for head and neck squamous cell cancer.


A retrospective review was conducted of 259 patients who underwent microvascular free flap reconstruction after head and neck ablative surgery.


Mean body mass index was 22.48 kg/m2. There were no correlations between body mass index and: flap failure (p = 0.739), flap ischaemia (p = 0.644), pharyngocutaneous fistula (p = 0.141) or wound infection (p = 0.224). The five-year disease-specific survival rate was 63 per cent. On univariate analysis, the five-year disease-specific survival rate was significantly correlated with pre-operative body mass index, based on Kaplan–Meier survival curves (p = 0.028). The five-year disease-specific survival rates in underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese groups were 47 per cent, 55 per cent, 65 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively.


Pre-operative body mass index was a useful predictor for recurrence and survival in patients who underwent microvascular reconstruction for head and neck squamous cell cancer.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Min-Sik Kim, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 505 Banpodong Seochogu, Seoul St Mary's Hospital, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-040, Republic of Korea E-mail:


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