Preoperative diet restrictions are an important part of ensuring as safe and pleasant a surgical experience as possible. They are intended to minimize the possibility of aspirating ( inhaling) stomach contents into your lungs, a rare but potentially serious complication of anesthesia, and to reduce the likelihood of postoperative nausea.


The preoperative fasting guidelines of the American Society of Anesthesiologists for scheduled surgery are as follows:

.........light food ...........none for 6 hours prior to surgery

.........milk ...................none for 6 hours prior to surgery

.........clear liquids ..... .none for 2 hours prior to surgery


Because elective scheduled surgical procedures may sometimes proceed ahead of the scheduled time, we insist on fasting limits that exceed the above guidelines. To avoid the risk of a full stomach if the surgery time is ahead of schedule, we prefer:

NO SOLID FOOD FOR 8 HOURS BEFORE AN ELECTIVE SURGERY

NO MILK FOR 8 HOURS BEFORE AN ELECTIVE SURGERY

NO CLEAR LIQUIDS FOR 3 HOURS BEFORE AN ELECTIVE SURGERY

Clear liquids include water, coffee without milk, tea, fruit juices without pulp, soft drinks and sports drinks like Gatorade, They do NOT include milk products of any kind.


Daily medications should be taken at their usual time with just enough water to get them down, with the exception of diabetic medications, aspirin, and anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen, which should NOT be taken on the day of surgery. It is permissible to brush your teeth and gargle without swallowing. Do not use gum, mints, or lozenges on the day of surgery.


These instructions should be taken very seriously and they apply regardless of the type of anesthetic planned. For your safety, any deviation from them must be reported to your preoperative nurses and anesthesiologist.


Your anesthesiologist may telephone you prior to surgery to discuss or modify these instructions. Diet restrictions for infants and children are discussed in the section on Pediatric Anesthesia.

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