European Journal of Plastic Surgery

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 505–510 | Cite as

A systematic review of the risk of postoperative bleeding with perioperative non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in plastic surgery

  • Murray Grant Forsyth
  • David J. Clarkson
  • Ciaran P. O’Boyle
Original Paper



NSAIDs are used extensively in the perioperative period, for analgesia, or for preexisting conditions. However, potential risks of NSAID-induced haemorrhage have raised concerns regarding their use. NSAIDs inhibit platelet aggregation and have been shown to significantly increase bleeding time. In the available literature, there is an apparent lack of consensus regarding the use of NSAIDs and their clinical effects. A systematic review was undertaken to collate all relevant published data to provide a combined measure of the overall risk of serious complications when using NSAIDs in the perioperative period.


The search for potentially relevant studies was undertaken in PubMed for all publications up to August 2016, using appropriate medical subject (MeSH) headings. There were no restrictions on publication date or status. This was conducted in concordance with and adherence to the 2009 PRISMA guidance. Data harvested relevant papers was tabulated and analysed utilising Review Manager software to calculate a risk ratio (Mantel-Haenszel method, random effects).


Twelve articles were included in the analysis, comprising 6581 patients, of which 1785 received an NSAID and 4796 were controls. Within the 1785 patients receiving NSAIDs, a total of 102 (5.7%) experienced moderate to severe complications, compared with 108 (2.2%) in the control groups.


Based on the assembled data, the authors conclude that the use of perioperative NSAIDs in plastic surgical procedures increases the risk of postoperative bleeding complications. Despite this, the rate of bleeding complications remains low.

Level of Evidence: Not ratable.


Plastic surgery Bleeding Complications NSAIDs Non-steroidal Surgery Perioperative 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Murray Grant Forsyth, David J. Clarkson and Ciaran P. O’Boyle declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Not required




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray Grant Forsyth
    • 1
  • David J. Clarkson
    • 1
  • Ciaran P. O’Boyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Burns and Plastic SurgeryNottingham City HospitalNottinghamUK

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