With Edinburgh's European hopes all but over after three losses from three matches, including last weekend in Paris, head coach Michael Bradley has made eight changes with the RaboDirect PRO12 derbies against Glasgow Warriors in mind.
Cairns has been absent since sustaining a knee injury in a pre-season match against Sale Sharks in August 2011, but featured for Melrose last weekend and is now back in the Edinburgh fold.
Also returning from injury are New Zealand centre Ben Atiga and Fiji back row Netani Talei, while Georgian number eight Dimitri Basilaia has been named on the bench.
Bradley said: "We're delighted to welcome the timely return of these four players from injury, all of whom have the potential to make a significant contribution to our Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12 campaigns at a crucial period in the season."
Full-back Greig Tonks is the only re-selected back as Lee Jones and Dougie Fife come in for the injured Tom Brown (knee) and Tim Visser on the wings.
Piers Francis has been handed his first start at fly-half after making his debut off the bench last weekend, while scrum-half Chris Leck also comes in.
The final change comes in the pack as Robert McAlpine replaces Sean Cox at lock.
- Sports & Recreation