Research Mentor Name

Dr. Dunya Atisha

Research Mentor Email Address

Institution / Department

Henry Ford Health

Document Type

Research Abstract

Research Type


Level of Research



PURPOSE: Marijuana use is associated with incidence of vascular inflammation and clotting, resulting in endothelial damage and arteritis. As marijuana use rises, few studies have evaluated its impact on surgical outcomes, wound healing, and vascular anastomoses in free flap breast reconstruction.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing abdominal free flap breast reconstruction between 2016 and 2022 at a large metropolitan healthcare system was performed. Patient demographics, comorbidities, procedural details, and complications were analyzed. Minor complications were defined as skin necrosis, any wound requiring management in the clinic, hematoma, seroma, or fat necrosis that did not require intervention. Major complications were defined as re-operation, flap loss, thromboembolic events, or hospital readmission. Active marijuana users were those with marijuana use within 12 weeks of surgery. Those who utilized nicotine within 12 weeks of surgery were excluded from analysis.

RESULTS: 149 patients underwent 241 deep inferior epigastric artery-based flaps for breast reconstruction. There were 17 active marijuana users. There were no significant differences in patient age, race, BMI, cancer treatment, cancer stage, or operative details. However, there were significantly higher rates of anxiety/depression, tobacco and narcotic use, and hypertension in the marijuana use group (P

CONCLUSION: Marijuana use appears to not impact surgical outcomes in breast free flap reconstruction. Advising marijuana abstinence pre-operatively may not alter patient outcomes. This study may be limited by power and further evaluation will be needed.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Plastic Surgery | Surgery