Renal transplant wound complications in the modern era of obesity

Jennifer H. Kuo, Michael S Wong, Richard V Perez, Chin-Shang Li, Tzu Chun Lin, Christoph Troppmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity is a known risk factor for wound complications following kidney transplantation (KTX), and obese transplant candidates are often encouraged to lose weight. The implications of this weight loss for post-KTX wound healing and morbidity have not been examined. Our aim was to study potential risk factors for post-KTX wound complications, with a specific focus on a history of significant weight loss. Methods: Single-center retrospective review of all KTX recipients ≥18 y performed 04/2004-03/2009. We studied potential donor-, transplant-, and recipient-related risk factors for wound complications by univariate and multivariate analyses. Graft and patient survival comparisons were done by Kaplan-Meier curves and two-sided log-rank test. Results: Overall wound complication incidence among the 487 study recipients was 6.4%. Significant independent risk factors for wound complications were BMI (odds ratio [OR] = 1.14 per 1 kg/m 2 increase), and history of significant weight loss (OR = 13.46), peri-KTX transfusion (OR = 5.42), and desensitization (OR = 60.34). Wound complications had no significant impact on graft and patient survival. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates for the first time that besides BMI, pre-KTX desensitization, and peri-KTX transfusion, a history of significant pre-KTX weight loss is also an independent risk factor for post-KTX wound complications (potentially at least in part due to body contour changes resulting in an unfavorable abdominal panniculus). Further study of KTX candidates who have lost a significant amount of weight is warranted to (1) identify the exact causes for their increased propensity for complications and (2) devise measures to minimize added cost and morbidity. Finally, our findings suggest that the impact of weight loss on the outcomes of non-transplant operations also warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • obesity
  • renal transplant
  • weight loss
  • wound complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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