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Ehrl, Denis; Heidekrueger, Paul I.; Haas, Elisabeth M.; Coenen, Michaela; Giunta, Riccardo E.; Ninkovic, Milomir; Broer, P. Niclas (2018): Does Cigarette Smoking Harm Microsurgical Free Flap Reconstruction? In: Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, Vol. 34, No. 5
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BACKGROUND Free tissue transfers can successfully address a wide range of reconstructive requirements. While the negative influence of cigarette smoking is well documented, its effects in the setting of microsurgical free flap reconstruction remain debated. This study evaluates the impact of cigarette smoking on microsurgical reconstructions. METHODS Over a 7-year period, 897 patients underwent 969 microvascular free flap reconstructions at a single surgical center. The cases were divided into \"smoker\" (S) and \"nonsmoker\" (NS) groups according to their cigarette smoking status. The data were retrospectively screened for patients' demographics, perioperative details, surgical complications, free flap types, recipient sites, flap survival, and overall outcomes. RESULTS Both groups were comparable regarding comorbidities including hypertension, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, American Society of Anesthesiologists scores, types of performed free flaps, and recipient sites. While patients in the NS group were significantly older and had a higher prevalence of obesity (p < 0.05), there were no significant differences regarding the rate of major or minor complications during our 3-month follow-up period (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION While minor and major complications were increased regarding virtually all examined parameters, cigarette smoking did not have significant effects on the overall outcomes of microsurgical free flap reconstructions.