© Mr Amer Karim (2016)
Mr Amer Karim
MBBS(London), DIC(Orth Eng), MD(Res)
FRCS(Trauma & Orth), FRSA(UK)
Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon
Full British Training & Specialist Certification
Fasting Before Surgery:
If you are planning to have surgery you may have been told that you shouldn’t eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours prior to your procedure. It is very important that you follow these instructions to avoid complications during and after your surgery.
Two Reasons Not To Eat and Drink Before Surgery:
1) If your surgery will be in part of your gastrointestinal system, having food in your system could complicate the surgery and lead to infection or cause the surgery to be cancelled.
2) If you have food or fluid in your stomach during your surgery, you could vomit while under anesthesia. The combination of anesthesia, which paralyzes the body, and intubation makes it possible for you to inhale the vomit into your lungs. This can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and difficulty breathing that can compromise your recovery.
You may be tempted to have a huge meal before you start your 8 to 12 hour fast. Do not give into the temptation as it can completely defeat the purpose of fasting. Instead, have a light meal such as soup and salad for your final meal before surgery. A heavier meal takes longer to digest and negates the effect of abstaining from food and drink prior to surgery.
If your surgeon has said you should take your regular medications on the morning of your surgery, plan to do so with the smallest sip of water possible. Do not take your medication if the surgeon has not instructed you to do so. Take care not to swallow water when you brush your teeth.
Water Before Surgery
You can only have sips of clear, plain water up to 6 hours before surgery and then nothing after then.