Safety and Efficacy of Postoperative Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs in Sports Medicine

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2022 Jun 15;30(12):535-542. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-21-01228.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used for multimodal pain control after surgery. These medications work by selective or nonselective inhibition of cyclooxygenase, which has downstream effects on thromboxanes, prostaglandins, and prostacyclins. Clinical studies have shown beneficial effects for alleviating pain and reducing opioid consumption after surgery. Within hip arthroscopy, there is evidence that postoperative NSAIDs can also reduce the risk of symptomatic heterotopic bone formation. However, preclinical and animal studies have raised concern over the effect of NSAIDs on bone and soft-tissue healing. In addition, selective and nonselective cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors may have different safety profiles regarding postoperative soft-tissue healing. The purpose of this review was to outline the mechanisms of action, efficacy, and effect on soft-tissue healing of postoperative NSAIDs and to provide evidence-based recommendations for appropriate use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Ossification, Heterotopic*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Sports Medicine*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors