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An ACS-NSQIP Data Analysis of 30-Day Outcomes Following Surgery for Bell's Palsy.

BACKGROUND: There exists a paucity of large-scale, multi-institutional studies that investigate the outcomes of surgery for Bell's palsy (BP). Here, we utilize a large, multi-institutional database to study the risk factors and early-stage outcomes following surgical procedures in BP.

METHODS: We reviewed the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database (2008-2019) to identify patients who underwent surgery for the diagnosis of BP. We extracted data on comorbidities and preoperative blood values, and 30-day postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-seven patients who underwent surgery for BP symptoms over the 12-year review period were identified. Muscle grafts (n=50; 19%) and fascial grafts (n=48; 19%) accounted for the majority of procedures. The most common comorbidities were hypertension (n=89; 35%) and obesity (n=79; 31%). Complications occurred in 26 (10.1%) cases. Additionally, length of hospital stay was significantly associated with both surgical and medical complications (3.9±4.7 versus 1.5±2.0; P<0.01) and (3.2±3.8 versus 1.4±2.0; P<0.01), respectively. Preoperative creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and alkaline phosphatase were identified as potential predictors of poor postoperative outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Based on multi-institutional analysis, complication rates following surgery for BP were found to be overall low and seen to correlate with length of hospital stay. Reoperations and readmissions were the most frequent complications after surgery for BP. The preoperative evaluation of routine laboratory values may help refine patient eligibility and risk stratification. In addition, our findings call for future large-scale prospective studies in the field of facial palsy surgery to further improve the quality of care and optimize perioperative protocols.

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