Ibuprofen can be used before, during or after some surgeries as a pain reliever that works in conjunction with stronger pain medications, according to the Mayo Clinic. The goal of ibuprofen in these cases is to provide initial pain relief so that the patient does not need a high dose of stronger opiates. Ibuprofen is not used in all surgeries and can be dangerous during coronary artery bypasses.
When surgeons use ibuprofen in combination with other drugs, the Mayo Clinic explains that it's known as multimodal pain relief. A doctor prescribes the patient an opioid, which usually handles the bulk of the surgical pain. Doctors want to give the patient as low a dose of this drug as possible to prevent overdose and post-surgery addiction. To do this, they administer one or more other drugs that relieve pain to work alongside the opioid and avoid dangerous side effects. These drugs include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, celecoxib, ketamine and gabapentin.
MedlinePlus warns that patients need to inform doctors and dentists if they took ibuprofen before their scheduled surgery or dental work. Taking too much of this drug can cause serious complications, including death. People who have a history of heart disease are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack while on ibuprofen. This is why patients who need a coronary artery bypass graft never take ibuprofen before or after the procedure.