Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are common medications with multiple useful effects, including pain relief and reduction of inflammation. However, surgeons commonly withhold all nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs perioperatively because of bleeding concerns. However, not all nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs irreversibly block platelet function. The authors hypothesized that the use of ibuprofen would have no effect on postoperative bleeding in plastic surgery patients.
A literature review was performed using MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, and the Cochrane Collaboration Library for primary research articles on ibuprofen and bleeding. Inclusion criteria were primary journal articles examining treatment of acute postoperative pain based on any modality. Data related to pain assessment, postoperative recovery, and complications were extracted. Bias assessment and meta-analysis were performed.
A total of 881 publications were reviewed. Four primary randomized controlled trials were selected for full analysis. Articles were of high quality by bias assessment. No significant difference was noted regarding bleeding events (p
= 0.32), and pain control was noted to be equivalent.
Ibuprofen is a useful medication in the setting of surgery, with multiple beneficial effects. This meta-analysis represents a small set of high-quality studies suggesting that ibuprofen provides pain control equivalent to narcotics. Importantly, ibuprofen was not associated with an increased risk of bleeding. Further large studies will be necessary to elucidate this issue further, but ibuprofen is a safe postoperative analgesic in patients undergoing common plastic surgery soft-tissue procedures.
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