Why You Should Never Eat Right Before Having Surgery

There are many rules to follow as you prepare for surgery, and one of them is what you can and can't eat or drink leading up to the procedure. In most cases, you should not eat right before having surgery (via Verywell Health). If you eat too close to getting surgery, you put yourself at risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), which can aspirate vomit into your lungs and cause complications. Aspiration, which refers to when liquids, food, or vomit are brought up from the stomach and then breathed in, can also cause pneumonia.

Some surgeries require bowel prep, which means you need to clean out your intestines before the surgery. This is usually done by drinking a special solution or taking a laxative. If you eat anything before having surgery, it can ruin your bowel prep and your physician will have to reschedule the appointment. If you're scheduled for surgery, talk to your doctor about when you should stop eating and drinking. In most cases, it's best to avoid food and drink for at least eight hours before surgery. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If you have a very long or complicated surgery scheduled, your doctor may recommend that you do not eat or drink anything for 12 hours or more before the procedure. If you're unsure about when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery, talk to your doctor.

How to prepare for surgery

It's important to be well-prepared before undergoing surgery. The most important thing you can do is follow your doctor's instructions. Based on your surgery, your health, and other factors, they will be able to give you the best advice to follow. There are also some general guidelines you can follow in order to help your procedure go as smoothly as possible. As mentioned, you'll want to avoid eating and drinking for at least eight hours before surgery or unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

Listen to your doctor's instructions carefully. They will know what's best for you and will guide you through the process step by step (via Mayo Clinic). Don't be afraid to ask questions or follow up about something you don't understand. It's important that you feel comfortable and informed before going into a procedure. You should also try to get plenty of rest before your surgery. This will help your body heal and recover more quickly afterward. Finally, make sure you have someone available to pick you up after your surgery is complete. You will likely be feeling dizzy and disoriented, so it's important to have someone there to help you get home safely and to take care of you until you are able to care for yourself again.