Challenging the Surgical Axiom: Albumin Level Does Not Reliably Predict Development of Wound Complications in Patients Undergoing Body Contouring

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Perm J


INTRODUCTION: Hypoalbuminemia has traditionally been associated with a poor nutritional status and subsequent high incidence of postoperative wound complications in surgical patients. Recent evidence, however, suggests that traditional nutritional markers are inadequate in predicting postoperative morbidity.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that preoperative albumin levels are not associated with adverse outcomes in patients undergoing body contouring.

METHODS: All patients undergoing body contouring from 2015 to 2017 were identified using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Demographics, comorbidities, and wound classification were extracted from the database. The independent predictors of developing wound complications were identified. Logistic regressions were used to identify the impact of albumin on outcomes.

RESULTS: During the study period, 4496 patients were identified. Wound complications developed in 202 patients (4.5%). Increasing body mass index, history of diabetes mellitus, American Society of Anesthesiologists classification, history of prior open wound, and tobacco use were independently associated with the development of postoperative complications. Albumin levels were not associated with the development of wound complications. Similarly, albumin levels were not associated with the need for a repeated operation, with readmission, or with the total hospital length of stay.

CONCLUSION: Albumin values were not associated with wound complications or need for reoperation in patients undergoing body contouring. Further research is warranted.

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