IMPORTANCE Postoperative wound complications after total laryngectomy (TL) increase hospital stay, costs, and delay adjuvant therapy when indicated. Recently, sarcopenia has been identified as a predictor of postoperative complications in patients undergoing major surgery but has not been assessed in head and neck surgery patients. OBJECTIVE To determine the incidence of sarcopenia in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) undergoing TL and evaluate its association with the development of postoperative wound complications. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective medical chart review of 70 patients with SCC who underwent TL with cross-sectional abdominal imaging obtained preoperatively from 2004 to 2016 in a tertiary care hospital. Patients were determined to have sarcopenia present if the skeletal muscle index was calculated to be less than 38.5 cm2/m2 for women and 52.4 cm2/m2 for men. Demographic data included age, sex, smoking history, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, prior radiation history, tumor stage, body mass index (BMI), and preoperative albumin levels. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Measurements of abdominalwall and paraspinal musculature at the cross-sectional L3 vertebral body were performed, normalized for height, and compared with previously defined sex-specific cutoff values to identify sarcopenia. Postoperative complications including all complications, wound-related complications, and pharyngo-cutaneous fistula (PCF) were determined. RESULTS Sarcopenia was identified preoperatively in 54 (77%) patients. There was not a significant difference between the sarcopenia group and the nonsarcopenia group for any data except BMI (Cohen d = 1; 95%CI, 0.41-1.57) and preoperative albumin levels (Cohen d = 0.69; 95%CI, 0.11-1.25). Of 70 patients, 13 (24%) in the sarcopenia group developed a PCF compared with 0 (0%) without sarcopenia (OR, 1.32; 95%CI, 1.13-1.53). Similarly, 35 (50%) patients in the sarcopenia group developed a wound complication compared with 2 (13%) in the nonsarcopenia group (OR, 7.54; 95%CI, 1.56-36.4). On univariate analysis, sarcopenia was the only predictive factor of any complication (OR, 6.53; 95%CI, 1.84-23.23) and any wound complication (OR, 7.54; 95%CI, 1.56-36.4). On multivariable analysis of preoperative albumin levels and preoperative sarcopenia, only sarcopenia was a significant predictor for all complications (OR, 7.96; 95%CI, 1.39-45.29). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Sarcopenia is an independent negative prognostic indicator for the development of all complications and wound complications after TL for the treatment of SCC.
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