A low skeletal muscle index (SMI), defined with cut-off values, is a promising predictor for adverse events (AEs) in head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) patients. The aim was to generate sex-specific SMI cut-off values based on AE to diagnose low SMI and to analyse the relationship between low SMI and AEs in HNSCC patients. In this present study, HNSCC patients were prospectively included in a large oncological data-biobank and SMI was retrospectively measured using baseline neck scans. In total, 193 patients were included and were stratified according to treatment modality: (chemo-)radiotherapy ((C)RT) (n = 135) and surgery (n = 61). AE endpoints were based on the occurrence of clinically relevant toxicities (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade ≥ III) and postoperative complications (Clavien-Dindo Classification grade ≥ II). Sex-specific SMI cut-off values were generated with receiver operating characteristic curves, based on the AE endpoints. The relationship of the baseline characteristics and AEs was analysed with logistic regression analysis, with AEs as the endpoint. Multivariable logistic analysis showed that low SMI (OR 3.33, 95%CI 1.41-7.85) and tumour stage (OR 3.45, 95%CI 1.28-9.29) were significantly and independently associated to (C)RT toxicity. Low SMI was not related to postoperative complications. To conclude, sex-specific SMI cut-off values, were generated based on the occurrence of AEs. Low SMI and tumour stage were independently related to (C)RT toxicity in HNSCC patients.