People who are about to undergo surgery are always asked not to consume anything prior to the procedure. In this article, we are going to discuss why can’t you eat or drink before the surgery. Why is it important to follow this protocol and how it helps your body in a certain way? If you are about to undergo an operation, consult a trusted surgeon before your surgery to learn the important details that you must know to have a hassle-free and successful surgery.
Do’s And Don’ts Before Surgery
Your surgeon will ask you to stop eating or drinking after midnight on the night before your surgery. This is mainly because of the effects of the drugs that will be induced to you to help in pain management. But there are also other factors to consider when you’re about to undergo surgery. Let’s discuss one by one:
- Continue taking your scheduled medication for blood pressure or a heart condition with a very few amount of water. If you need medication for other diseases like asthma, diabetes, acid reflux, and others, consult your doctor.
- Check with your doctor if you need to stop taking Plavix or any drugs that cause blood thinning.
- It is important to have someone by your side after the surgery. Appoint one person that you trust to take you home and take care of you for at least a day after the surgery.
- If your doctor asked you to bring certain materials or appliances, be sure to have it ready before your surgery.
- Wear and prepare comfortable and loose clothes. Shirts that have buttons from top to bottom and pants that are easy to wear are recommended.
- Remove all the jewelry in your body.
- Take a shower and bathe with antibacterial soap before the surgery.
- Alcohols are prohibited starting at 6 pm before the scheduled surgery day.
- Stop eating or drinking after midnight the night before your surgery. If you do not follow this instruction, your surgery might be postponed.
- Do not use body lotions, perfumes, colognes, and oils.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco the night before your surgery.
- Do not take any anti-inflammatory medications and Vitamin E. If theses medication is part of your regular regimen, consult your doctor right away.
- Wearing makeup and cosmetics are not recommended as well. Things like nail polish and nail extensions will hinder the doctor from determining your state. The color of your skin and nails will help in providing information to the surgeon and nurses.
Children And Adults With Disability
- Check with their regular doctor if what kind of foods is allowed for them to eat. Although just like regular patients, they will also be advised to stop eating or drinking for a period of time.
- The parent or legal guardian must be present on the day of surgery to fill up forms and sign the consent.
- Be sure that the parent or guardian is advised to wait and stay in the operating waiting area so the surgeon can speak with them if needed.
Stop Eating Or Drinking Before Surgery
Every surgery is different, being allowed to eat or drink prior to the surgery and what kind of foods you’re allowed to consume will all depend on the type of surgery that you will have. Oftentimes, your doctor or nurse will give you instructions to follow.
The amount of time you have to be allowed to eat and drink will vary on the kind of surgery that you are about to have. Chewing gum like nicotine gum is not allowed during the waiting period. Certain types of fluids must be avoided as well, this includes milk, coffee, tea, or anything that has added milk. However, clear Liquids are recommended.
Clear liquids like water, broth, and gelatin are easy to digest and does not leave any undigested food particles in the stomach. Doctors sometimes prescribe a clear liquids diet to their patients before undergoing surgery. Infants may be given breast milk 4 hours before the surgery, after that, only clear liquids are allowed for them to consume.
Before having surgery, you will be given an anesthetic, may it be local or general.
A local anesthetic helps in pain management as it numbs the area that is about to be treated. Pain management is essential on this part because local anesthesia will not make you unconscious, you will be awake and aware of everything throughout the surgery. Local anesthesia is mostly used in patients with minor surgeries.
The general anesthetic knocks you down and leaves you unconscious so will not feel anything and be not aware of your surroundings during the surgery.
A patient will be asked to stop eating or drinking before surgery because of the effects of the anesthetics on the body. When a general anesthetic is induced, the body’s reflexes are temporarily stopped. If you consumed food before surgery, there is a high risk that you vomit and bring up food from the stomach to the throat. If this incident occurs, the food could get into the lungs and affect breathing resulting in lung damage.
Types Of Anesthesia
- Local anesthesia. This anesthetic drug is given as a shot, ointment, or spray. It numbs a small part of the body that is about to be treated. Local anesthesia is often given to outpatients who are undergoing minor surgeries only because its effects do not last for a very long time. Outpatients are people who come into the clinic on the day of the surgery and go home right after. This drug is not used for major surgeries where the patient will be cut wide open. Dentists and cosmetic surgeons use this anesthetic more often. It also helps with pain management after surgery.
- General anesthesia. This anesthetics objective is to keep the patient asleep, unaware, and unconscious until the surgery is finished. They will not feel, hear, or see anything during the procedure. It is mostly given through an IV and could have an effect on the patient immediately. If the patient feels any pain or discomfort after the surgery, the surgeon can help in pain management after the initial anesthesia wears off.
- Regional anesthesia. Most of the time, regional anesthesia and general anesthesia are combined and used in one surgery. Unlike local anesthesia, regional anesthesia can numb a larger part of the body. It is injected near a cluster of nerves to make the patient more comfortable while on surgery. This drug can be used independently as well, helping the patient in pain management while keeping them awake.
Doctors and surgeons will only give instructions to help the patient in any way possible. Asking their patient to stop eating and drinking for a short period of time is a small price to pay compared to having more complications caused by not following strict directions and surgery protocols.