Fasting Advice for Surgery
(This does not apply to pregnant woman coming for Caesarean Section)
Before an operation it is very important that you prepare properly.
To get ready for your operation you must make sure your stomach is empty of food but keeping yourself hydrated by drinking water up to a certain time.
For some operations, you may be given specific instructions which should be followed.
The following advice is for ADULT patients coming for planned elective operations. Please see the paediatric section for young people or parents coming for surgery.
You should not eat anything for 6 hours before your operation.
It is very difficult for us to predict the exact time that you will be arriving in theatre so we advise that, if you are due at:
- 8am at Hospital
As you may go to theatre in the morning, please eat before midnight before your operation, do not eat anything after midnight and do not have breakfast in the morning.
- 11am or later at Hospital
You will not be expected to have your operation until the afternoon. We suggest you have a light breakfast (e.g toast or cereal, avoid fatty foods such as bacon and sausages) before 7am, but do not eat after 7am. This will keep you more comfortable during the day.
It is very important that you have a drink of clear fluids before your operation up to the time allowed. We therefore encourage you to have a drink of clear fluids (see list of drinks below) 2 hours before your operation.
Where possible we will try and provide a drink while you are waiting for your operation if we think the wait will be more than 2 hours, but before coming to hospital we suggest:
- Arriving in hospital for 8 am
You may have a drink of ‘clear fluids’ up until 7 am. Clear fluids include water, black tea and black coffee. Milk is not allowed because it acts as food in your stomach.
- Arriving in hospital for 11 am
You may have a drink of ‘clear fluids’ up until 10.30 am. Clear fluids include water, black tea and black coffee. Milk is not allowed because it acts as food in your stomach.
We request that you do not drink any alcohol for at least 12 hours before your operation.
Alcohol can change the acid levels in your stomach and interact with anaesthetic drugs.
Your operation may also be cancelled if you are under the influence of alcohol.