New research suggests that ibuprofen does not increase the risk of bleeding after plastic surgery procedures.

Published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a report outlines the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing ibuprofen with other pain medications for patients undergoing plastic surgery-related operations. The researchers reviewed a total of 881 publications. After examining their findings, they found 4 studies in which 443 patients were randomly assigned to ibuprofen or other medications. Procedures included in the study: cosmetic facial surgery, breast cancer surgery, hernia repair, and skin cancer surgery and reconstruction.

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Using the same ibuprofen dose (400mg every 4 hours), all of the study medications provided “good pain control,” the assembled data suggested. Seven percent of patients assigned to ibuprofen and 11% assigned to comparison drugs — acetaminophen, acetaminophen plus codeine, or the prescription-only NSAID ketorolac — reported dissatisfaction with their pain treatment.

The researchers also found that ibuprofen and other treatments were similar in terms of bleeding risks: 3.4% percent with ibuprofen and 4.1% with other treatments. There was no significant difference noted regarding bleeding events (p = 0.32).

The study’s limitations include procedures where bleeding and hematomas are easily detectable. The investigators also point out the small numbers of studies and patients included

Even though ibuprofen was found to be a safe postoperative analgesic in patients undergoing common plastic surgery soft-tissue procedures, additional studies are needed to vet this issue further, the authors wrote.


Kelley B, Bennett K, Chung K, Kozlow J. Ibuprofen May Not Increase Bleeding Risk in Plastic Surgery. Plast. Reconst. Surg. 2016;137(4):1309-1316. doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000002027.