High BMI Increases Complications for Chest Masculinization Surgery

However, regardless of BMI, risk for severe complications during gender-affirming chest surgery are very low

FRIDAY, Nov. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Among transgender and nonbinary patients undergoing chest masculinization surgery (CMS), people with high body mass index (BMI) have a slightly increased risk for complications, although the risk for serious complications is very low, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in the Annals of Plastic Surgery.

Bashar Hassan, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the association between BMI and postoperative complications among transgender and nonbinary patients undergoing CMS. The analysis included 2,317 patients (median BMI was 27.4 kg/m2; range, 15.6 to 64.9 kg/m2).

The researchers found that while increasing BMI was significantly associated with greater odds of at least one complication, no patients experienced severe morbidity, regardless of BMI. Compared with patients without obesity, those with BMI ≥50 kg/m2 had tripled odds of at least one complication (adjusted odds ratio, 3.63) and 36.62-fold greater odds of urinary tract infection. Similarly, patients with BMI ≥35 kg/m2 had fivefold greater odds of readmission and surgical site infection compared with patients without obesity.

“Given the low risk for severe complications in higher BMI individuals, we recommend re-evaluation of BMI cutoffs for CMS patients,” the authors write.

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