The Association Between Metabolic Derangement and Wound Complications in Elective Plastic Surgery.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The incidence of metabolically unhealthy obesity is rising nationally. In this study, we compare wound and overall complications between metabolically unhealthy obese and healthy patients undergoing elective plastic surgery and model how operative time influences a complication risk.


Patients undergoing elective breast and body plastic surgery procedures in the 2009-2019 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) dataset were identified. Complications were compared between metabolically unhealthy obese (body mass index [BMI] > 30 with diabetes and/or hypertension) versus metabolically healthy obese patients (BMI > 30 without diabetes or hypertension). Logistic regression was used to model the probability of wound complications across operative times stratified by metabolic status.


Of 139,352 patients, 13.4% (n = 18,663) had metabolically unhealthy obesity and 23.8% (n = 33,135) had metabolically healthy obesity. Compared to metabolically healthy patients, metabolically unhealthy patients had higher incidence of wound complications (6.9% versus 5.6%; P < 0.001) and adverse events (12.4% versus 9.6%; P < 0.001), in addition to higher 30-d readmission, returns to the operating room, and length of stay (all P < 0.001). After adjustment, BMI (Odds ratio [OR] 7.86), hypertension (OR 1.15), and diabetes (OR 1.25) were independent risk factors for wound complications (all P < 0.001). Among metabolically unhealthy patients, the operative time was log-linear with a wound complication risk (OR 1.21; P < 0.001).


Diabetes and hypertension are additive risk factors with obesity for wound complications in elective plastic surgery. Among patients with metabolically unhealthy obesity, a risk of wound complications increases logarithmically with operative time. This distinction with regard to metabolic state might explain the unclear impact of obesity on surgical outcomes within existing surgical literature.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sergesketter, AR; Geng, Y; Shammas, RL; Denis, GV; Bachelder, R; Hollenbeck, ST

Published Date

  • October 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 278 /

Start / End Page

  • 39 - 48

PubMed ID

  • 35588573

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9329200

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-8673

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-4804

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jss.2022.03.017


  • eng