Is Preoperative Serum Albumin Predictive of Adverse Surgical Outcomes in Maxillofacial Fracture Repair?

Published:November 04, 2021DOI:


      Malnutrition has been recognized as a predictor of postoperative adverse outcomes across many surgical subspecialties. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between serum albumin and adverse outcomes in patients undergoing operative repair of maxillofacial fractures.


      The authors utilized the 2011 to 2018 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) databases to identify patients with facial fractures undergoing operative repair. The primary predictor variable was preoperative serum albumin level. Outcome variables included complications and other adverse outcomes occurring within 30 days of the index operation. Descriptive, bivariate, and multiple logistic regression statistics were utilized to evaluate the relationship between serum albumin and adverse outcomes.


      During the study period 1211 subjects underwent operative repair of a facial fracture and had a documented serum albumin level. Of these subjects, 1037 (85.6%) had normal albumin levels and 174 (14.4%) had hypoalbuminemia. A total of 90 subjects experienced a complication (7.43%), although albumin level was not associated with surgical complications or any complication. In bivariate analysis, subjects with hypoalbuminemia were significantly more likely to have an extended length of stay (P ≤ .001), adverse discharge disposition (P ≤ .001), and be readmitted (P = .002). In multivariate analysis, hypoalbuminemia was an independent predictor of an extended length of stay (P ≤ .001, 95% CI 2.50 to 7.62), adverse discharge disposition (P = .048, 95% CI 1.01 to 3.75), and readmission (P = .041, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.47).


      Serum albumin was not an independent predictor of complications after maxillofacial trauma repair. However, it was an independent predictor of other adverse outcomes including extended length of stay, adverse discharge disposition, and readmission. Targeted nutritional optimization may represent an opportunity to improve outcomes in this demographic.
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