HomeSurgery ArticlesPreparing for Surgery - Why Do You Fast Before Surgery

Preparing for Surgery – Why Do You Fast Before Surgery

If you’ve ever gone through a surgical procedure, you’re likely aware of the preoperative fasting requirement. This is a common practice in healthcare to ensure that patients are safe during surgery. It may be troublesome or appear unwarranted, but knowing the reasons for it can help alleviate any concerns and make the process smoother.

This article looks into the importance of fasting before surgery, the risks of not following instructions, and how appropriate preparation can make for a successful and smooth operation. To ensure safety and efficiency of the procedure, it is important to abide by the suggested fasting guidelines and collaborate closely with your healthcare team.

What is Fasting Before Surgery?

It is customary for patients to abstain from eating before surgery. This is mainly to avert post-operative nausea and vomiting. In addition, not eating assists the medical staff in keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels more closely.

If you’re diabetic, you’ll need to make sure you talk to your surgeon or anesthesiologist about fasting before surgery. To keep your blood sugar levels in check during the fast, adjustments may need to be made with your insulin doses.

Typically, you are expected to refrain from eating and drinking for at least 6 hours before your operation. This includes water as well. If the surgery is planned for early in the morning, you may need to start fasting on the evening prior. Check with your surgeon or anesthesiologist to determine when you should begin.

Fasting can be challenging, particularly if you’re accustomed to having regular meals. Adhering closely to your doctor’s orders is essential, as improper fasting could result in difficulties during or after the operation.

Benefits of Fasting Before Surgery

When it comes to preparing for surgery, your doctor will likely have you refrain from eating or drinking for a certain period of time prior. This is primarily done to reduce the potential for complications during the operation, since stomach acids produced from eating or drinking can raise one’s chances of experiencing issues like bleeding or infection. To combat this risk, a fast help reduce the acid level in your body.

Studies suggest that fasting prior to surgery can have a positive impact on the results. It has been proven to reduce inflammation and boost wound healing, leading to fewer postoperative issues.

Fasting before surgery can help to reduce your anxiety levels. Going through such a nerve-wracking experience can be more manageable when you cut back on food, as it helps to calm your nerves.

Risks of Not Fasting Before Surgery

Not fasting before surgery carries risks. Vomiting during the operation could lead to choking or the inhalation of vomit, leading to pneumonia or other respiratory conditions. An infection is also more likely if food is present in the stomach as it provides nutrients for bacteria to grow. For those with diabetes or needing regular medication, failing to fast can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels, potentially resulting in a coma or even death.

Exceptions to Fasting Before Surgery

Most surgical procedures require you to fast prior to the procedure, however certain exceptions may be made. If your surgery is set for early in the morning and you have abstained from food or drink since the evening before, you can consume clear liquids such as water, black coffee, or tea up to two hours ahead of time.

If you’re having a procedure that requires general anesthesia, you should undertake fasting for 8 hours prior to the surgery. If it is scheduled later in the day and you haven’t had anything to eat or drink since breakfast, you can have something light for your meal such as toast or crackers with no butter 4 hours before the procedure.

It’s essential that you comply with your surgeon’s orders concerning eating and drinking prior to surgery. Don’t hesitate to go to your doctor or nurse if you have queries about fasting ahead of your procedure.

Preoperative Instructions for Fasting

It is critical to adhere to your physician’s preoperative instructions concerning fasting before surgery. This helps guarantee that the stomach is emptied and lessens risks associated with vomiting and inhalation of foreign particles under general anesthesia.

Your doctor will provide you with explicit fasting instructions, however typically, you must refrain from food and drink for a minimum of six hours prior to the operation. This encompasses beverages such as water, coffee, tea, and milk as well as chewing gum and candy. Your regular medications are allowed with a tiny mouthful of water.

If you have a morning surgery, don’t eat or drink anything from midnight. For afternoon surgery procedures, you can have a light breakfast in the morning but it’s best to fast at least six hours before your procedure starts.

Foods to Eat and Avoid While Fasting

Have you ever wondered why physicians often advise that patients fast before surgery? It’s because fasting ensures the safety of the procedure.

When you fast, your digestive system is left clear of food and fluids. This can help to reduce the chance of an infection developing during surgical procedures. Moreover, it prevents you from vomiting during or after surgery, which could be hazardous.

It is essential to heed the advice of your doctor or surgeon about fasting before going into the operating room. Most often, you will be instructed not to consume anything other than water for a minimum of six hours prior to your operation. Additionally, chewing gum or sucking on hard candy is generally forbidden.

If you are on regular medication, it is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is permissible to consume with sips of water up until a certain amount of time prior to surgery.

It’s recommended to ask your doctor or surgeon about fasting before any surgical procedure. They are the best equipped to provide you with tailored instructions, based on your specific needs and health condition.

Tips for Successful Fasting

Fasting prior to an operation is necessary for various reasons. It lowers the risk of any issues with anesthesia and surgery, gives your body a chance to rest and boosts healing post-surgery. Additionally, it ensures that you are supplied with adequate nutrition before the procedure so your body can manage the stress of surgery and recuperation more efficiently.

Here are some tips for successful fasting:

  • You should start fasting at least 12 hours before the scheduled time for your surgery. If it is set to take place in the morning, begin your fast the evening prior.
  • Drink plenty of liquids during your fast. This is vital to ensuring that you stay hydrated and avoid headaches or dizziness. It is best to opt for clear liquid options such as water, juice, or broth; avoiding caffeine and alcohol as they can be dehydrating.
  • If you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, stand up slowly and drink something with electrolytes. If the symptoms persist, lie down and contact your surgeon.
  • Be sure to speak with your doctor about any medicines you consume. For instance, insulin may have to be adjusted prior to fasting.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about resuming eating after surgery. Generally, you should begin with clear liquids and then progress to solids as tolerated. Eating too much at once can make you feel unwell and slow down the recovery process.
  • If you vomit, take a break from eating and focus on drinking fluids until the feeling passes. When it does, go back to eating small meals at regular times as your doctor or dietitian recommends.


This article was designed to explain why fasting is critical before surgery. It may seem unpleasant to go without food, but it’s essential in order reduce possible anesthesia complications and protect yourself. If you have any further queries about your procedure, please do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider for more information.


1. What is the purpose of fasting prior to surgery?

Fasting prior to surgery helps guard against complications like nausea, vomiting and aspiration. Aspiration occurs when stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs which could result in a serious respiratory infection.

2. What is the recommended duration of fasting before surgery?

The amount of time you must go without eating and drinking prior to surgery will differ depending on the type of procedure. Guidance will be provided by your doctor or surgeon. Generally, you should plan on fasting for at least 8 hours – with no consumption of food, beverages, gum, mints, or hard candy.

3. If I’m diagnosed with diabetes, what steps should I take?

If you suffer from diabetes, your doctor or surgeon may advise you to take different fasting instructions. Together, they will create a plan that is secure for you.

4. What if I am expecting?

If you are expecting, it is critical to abide by your medical practitioner’s direction in terms of fasting prior to surgery. Generally, 6 hours of fasting should be observed.

5. What happens if I break my fast before surgery?

If you consume anything prior to surgery, it may be necessary to reschedule it. This is due to the fact that having food or liquid in your stomach increases the chances of surgical problems occurring.

- Advertisement -spot_img