Tranexamic Acid Administration in Arthroscopic Surgery Is a Safe Adjunct to Decrease Postoperative Pain and Swelling: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:October 13, 2021DOI:


      To systematically screen the literature in an effort to critically examine the effect of tranexamic acid (TXA) in patients undergoing arthroscopic surgery, specifically pertaining to pain, blood loss, length of surgery, and both major and minor complications.


      In accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and Revised Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (R-AMSTAR) guidelines, 3 databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane) were searched April 2020 and screened in duplicate using inclusion and exclusion criteria for studies on the given subject. Study findings were reviewed, and meta-analysis was then performed on sufficiently congruent data using a random-effects model.


      There were 7 eligible randomized controlled trials, with 724 total patients, undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (4 studies, 537 patients), meniscectomy (1 study, 45 patients), femoroacetabular impingement (1 study, 70 patients), or rotator cuff repair (1 study, 72 patients). The mean age throughout the included studies was 33.9 years, with a mean of 27.7% female patients. There was a 1% drop out rate at 3 months postoperatively. There were significantly lower visual analog scale scores at 2 weeks postoperatively in the TXA groups (mean difference: –1.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] –3.41 to 0.10, P = .06, I2 = 97%). Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in the number of patients requiring joint aspiration in the TXA groups (risk ratio 0.27, 95% CI 0.12-0.56, I2 = 0%, P = .0006). The drainage output in TXA groups was also significantly decreased (mean difference: –61.14 mL, 95% CI –104.43 to –17.85, I2 = 94%, P = .006). Furthermore, there was a statistically significant decrease in hemarthrosis grade (Coupens & Yates) at 2 weeks postoperatively (Mean difference: –0.76, 95% CI –0.97 to –0.54, I2 = 0%, P < .0001). Finally, there was no significant difference in operating time, across all studies (Mean difference: 0.53, 95% CI –3.43 to 4.50, I2 = 57%, P < .79). The use of TXA showed no increased incidence of deep vein thrombosis, infection, arthrofibrosis, or other major complications or adverse reactions between the TXA and control groups.


      This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialss found that the use of TXA significantly improves pain scores up to 6 weeks postoperatively, decreases drainage output, decreases the need for joint aspirations, decreases incidence of hemarthrosis, increases visual clarity and technical ease, and has no increased incidence of other complications, at no loss to operative time. These findings indicate that TXA may be a useful adjunct in arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgery.

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