Impact of Preoperative Risk Factors on Inpatient Stay and Facility Discharge After Free Flap Reconstruction

Michael Hartley Freeman, Justin R. Shinn, Shanik J. Fernando, Douglas Totten, Jaclyn Lee, Jordan A. Malenke, C. Burton Wood, Alexander J. Langerman, Kyle Mannion, Robert J. Sinard, Sarah L. Rohde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the preoperative risk factors most predictive of prolonged length of stay (LOS) or admission to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or inpatient rehabilitation center (IPR) after free flap reconstruction of the head and neck. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Tertiary academic medical center. Methods: Retrospective review of 1008 patients who underwent tumor resection and free flap reconstruction of the head and neck at a tertiary referral center from 2002 to 2019. Results: Of 1008 patients (65.7% male; mean age of 61.4 years, SD 14.0 years), 161 (15.6%) were discharged to SNF/IPR, and the median LOS was 7 days. In multiple linear regression analysis, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI; P <.001), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification (P =.021), female gender (P =.023), and inability to tolerate oral diet preoperatively (P =.006) were statistically significantly related to increased LOS, whereas age, body mass index (BMI), modified frailty index (MFI), a history of prior radiation or chemotherapy, and home oxygen use were not. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that CCI (odds ratio [OR] = 1.119, confidence interval [CI] 1.023-1.223), age (OR = 1.082, CI 1.056-1.108), and BMI <19.0 (OR = 2.141, CI 1.159-3.807) were the only variables statistically significantly related to posthospital placement in an SNF or IPR. Conclusion: Common tools for assessing frailty and need for additional care may be inadequate in a head and neck reconstructive population. CCI appears to be the best of the aggregate metrics assessed, with significant relationships to both LOS and placement in SNF/IPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • care prediction
  • comorbidities
  • complications
  • frailty
  • free flap reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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