Background: Clostridium difficile-associated infections (CDI) have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality of hospitalized medical and surgical patients. There is a paucity of data regarding the incidence, impact, and modifiable risk factors in the plastic surgery population. Methods: The ACS NSQIP database was retrospectively queried for all cases performed by plastic surgeons during 2016. All plastic surgery cases, combined cases, demographics, and baseline clinical characteristics were extracted from the database. The study population was divided into 2 groups based on the development of CDI. Independent variables for development of CDI were identified. Results: During the study period, a total of 29,256 patients underwent a procedure by plastic surgery, with the most commonly performed procedures involving the breast (58%) and trunk (14%). Only 44 patients developed post-operative CDI (0.1%). Factors independently associated with development of CDI were wound classification at the end of the surgery, COPD, procedures involving the trunk, and surgery for reconstruction of pressure ulcers. Outpatient surgery was associated with decreased odds of developing CDI [AOR (95% CI):0.2 (0.1, 0.4), adj P < 0.001]. Staying overnight did not increase the odds of developing CDI; however, staying for >1 day in the hospital was associated with an increased risk of CDI development [AOR (95% CI): 1.03 (1.01, 1.13), adj P = 0.001]. Combined cases, ASA, body mass index, diabetes, and active smoking were not associated with CDI. Conclusions: CDI are rare in the plastic surgery population and are most associated with trunk/decubitus ulcer reconstructions, inpatient hospital stay, and contaminated wounds. The patients that usually fit in these categories have acutely or chronically infected wounds, which are often treated with systemic antibiotics. For patient with decubitus ulcers and other trunk reconstruction, the guidelines for pre and post-operative systemic antibiotic usage is not well defined. For patients who have had trunk reconstruction, development of evidence-based antibiotic stewardship guidelines may help these patients by limiting antibiotic usage and thereby reducing the incidence of CDI.
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