Objective: To determine if there are histologic differences relative to tobacco exposure in buccal mucosa. Substitution urethroplasty outcomes may be worse in tobacco users and we investigate if the buccal graft is inherently damaged due to chronic tobacco exposure. Methods: Subjects undergoing substitution urethroplasty with buccal graft harvest were prospectively consented in this IRB approved study. Subjects with poor dentition were excluded. A detailed tobacco use history was obtained. Cotinine testing was performed day of surgery to confirm or exclude active tobacco use. Trimmed portions of harvested graft were sent for tissue processing. Standard hematoxylin and eosin staining was performed. A single blinded pathologist performed analysis of the slides. Using a scale of none, mild, moderate, or severe slides were analyzed for cytologic atypia, architectural complexity, inflammation, and keratinization. Evidence of vascular damage was noted and the type of inflammation if present was classified. Results: Twenty-five buccal grafts were analyzed. No evidence of vascular damage or cytologic atypia were noted in any grafts. While mild architectural complexity and mild inflammation, typically lymphocytic, were noted in several of the buccal mucosa sections, this did not appear to correlate with tobacco exposure. The majority of grafts demonstrating increased keratinization correlated with significant tobacco exposure, but this was not consistently noted in all those with tobacco use. Conclusions: Buccal mucosa in patients with tobacco exposure did not show significant histologic alterations. Outcomes of substitution urethroplasty may be more impacted by persistent systemic exposure causing local ischemia as opposed to the graft tissue itself.
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