Patients in our study had increased donor site morbidity and poor oral recovery if the oral hygiene was compromised to begin with. Even though a few western studies have documented both short and long term donor site morbidity but they have not focused upon oral hygiene or tobacco consumption in any form.
Wood et al.  assessed the medium and long-term complications via a patient postal questionnaire. In their study, 83% patients experienced postoperative pain at the site of graft harvest. Perioral numbness was noted in their study in 68% of patients, which persisted in 26% at or beyond 6 months of follow-up. Surprisingly, pain was unrelated to size of graft harvest in that study. In our study, patients with a longer or bilateral cheek graft harvest had higher pain scores within the user as well as the non-user group; users had higher pain scores overall and for longer period as mentioned previously.
In another study, Dublin et al.  found that in the post-operative period the major symptoms were pain, numbness and tightness of the mouth. In their patients, the donor site was sutured which probably led to more pain. Our patients had pain but it subsided quickly because the donor site was left unstitched in 83.3% of the patients.
Jang et al.  compared post-operative intraoral morbidity after graft harvest from the lower lip and inner cheek. At a longer follow-up, patients whose grafts were harvested from the lower lip had more persistent discomfort, salivary flow changes, and neurosensory deficits than those with cheek harvest. We harvested graft from the lower lip in 3 patients only (1 user and 2 non-users) resulting in lower level of morbidity in non-users. In a similar study Kamp et al.  evaluated 24 patients and found that graft harvesting from the lower lip led to significantly prolonged discomfort for the patients. These studies reiterate our view that cheek is the best site for oral mucosa harvest since problems like salivary flow changes or cosmetic deformity are not encountered in graft harvest from the cheek as compared to lower lip .
Nelson et al.  also support the view that cheek is the better option for graft harvest and stated that most common complaint in their patients was cosmetic and none of the patients whose oral graft harvest site was limited to the cheek mucosa (as opposed to the lip) had cosmetic complaints. According to the authors, there was no difference between patients whose donor site was closed primarily or allowed to re-epithelize secondarily contraindicates our view that donor site should not be stitched since it causes less pain when left unstitched.
Fabbroni et al.  assessed the morbidity at the donor site and recorded any problems related to injury to the lingual and mental nerves, symptoms of obstruction of the parotid duct, and trismus but observed only four early complaints of mild trismus and one late complaint. This study again confirms our observations that post-operative donor site morbidity is limited to a small percentage of patients. It was observed in 20% of non-users and in 50% of users at 1 month; 15.4% of non-users and 26% of users at 6 months and 35.7% of users and 0.0% of non-users at 1 year. With the passage of time, most of the patients had milder symptoms. Percentage of users with donor site morbidity was more at 1 year as compared to that at 6 months perhaps due to the fact that the number of users who were recovering better did not come for follow up compared to those who still had co-morbidities.
Markiewicz et al.  reviewed the literature regarding complications associated with the donor site and found that the most frequent complications at mucosal harvest sites were scarring and contracture which might have been due to the fact that earlier all donor sites were stitched. We did not encounter the above mentioned problems since we left the donor site unstitched in 83.3% of patients as stated earlier.
Dubey et al. [18, 19] in two separate studies mentioned donor site morbidity in Indian patients. According to the authors, oral complications in the buccal mucosa urethroplasty group were few and of short term duration. Unlike our study, the description of donor site morbidity was brief and did not take the oral hygiene into account.
In a recent study, Castagnetti et al.  reported short term and long term retrospective assessment of donor site morbidity in a heterogeneous group of patients who underwent oral mucosa graft harvest. At long term assessment 28% of patients had perioral sensory deficit. This deficit was seldom perceived by the patients and was only reported if the oral surgeon examined them. From this study we can infer that long term morbidity after graft harvest is minimal. In our study, numbness at graft harvest site at 6 months amongst users and non-users was 26.3% and 7.7% respectively and that at 1 year was 35.7% and 0.0% respectively. The reason why percentage of numbness increased with increasing time interval is perhaps due to the fact that the patient can appreciate numbness better once pain and swelling subside. The other reason as mentioned above is due to more of such patients coming for follow-up compared to those who were perhaps getting better.
The weakness in our study is that it does not have a long term data and the patient population is small due to which the results of this study failed to reach any statistical significance. Since it is rare to find a person who chews tobacco or paan masala and smokes and still has a good oral hygiene; we have not divided the patients further into two more groups e.g. non-users with poor hygiene and users with good hygiene due to small number of patients in our study. Nonetheless, we accept this as a limitation of our study. Since oral hygiene of the patient was initially inspected by us and we then decided to refer the patients to the dental department; this step might have introduced a bias in the patient selection and is another limitation of this study. Another limitation of this study could be due to the use of chlorhexidine mouthwash in the pre-operative period which could have reduced the degree of local inflammation, improved the condition of oral mucosa and thus influenced the outcome of this study by reducing the morbidity. We also believe that it is highly unlikely since the mouthwash was used for a short time in the pre-operative period and majority of the patients were consuming tobacco for a very long period of time.
The strength of this study is that it is a prospective study and adds a new dimension to the donor site morbidity in terms of oral hygiene and tobacco consumption. The duration of exposure to tobacco has also been accounted for in our study and the patients have been divided in two groups based on exposure to tobacco.