Phone: 973-940-3166
Fax: 973-940-3170
Billing: 570-386-2366

When Can I Have Alcohol Before and After Surgery?


For most surgical procedures being performed at Specialty Surgical Center, we may ask you to avoid alcoholic beverages a few days before and after the operation. Your surgeon or nurse will tell you exactly how long you’ll need to stay away from alcohol during your pre-operative appointment. Some patients may want to let loose a few days before surgery or have a post-surgery celebratory drink, but our physicians warn that doing so is very dangerous!

Alcohol interferes with your blood’s ability to clot, which could make incisions and controlling blood loss during surgery particularly difficult. Bleeding out is a serious surgical complication that can result from thinned blood after consuming alcohol. Alcohol is also an anesthesiologist’s nightmare! We ask you not to have any alcohol after your surgery for the same reason: thin blood may make it difficult for your body to heal, which prolongs the recovery stage.

Alcohol disrupts how your body absorbs anesthesia, and as a result, may make some sedatives ineffective. Because of this, your anesthesiologist could give you additional doses of anesthetic without understanding your current state. This could be extremely dangerous. Fortunately, our team runs various tests before surgery to evaluate your pre-surgery condition. If you’ve had any booze, your surgeon will cancel the surgery indefinitely to avoid these complications. Here are other ways alcohol can affect the body:

As previously mentioned, we strongly ask patients do not consume alcohol post-operatively because it may affect the length of your recovery. One of the most important reasons why we encourage patients to avoid alcohol consumption is because of the danger presented when alcohol is mixed with any pain medications we prescribe. Additionally, alcohol weakens the immune system and can increase the patient’s risk of infection.

Alcohol widens the blood vessels causing the body to swell up. The surgical area may already be swollen following your surgery, so additional swelling can be dangerous and tamper with the healing process.

Depending on your surgery, your physician may okay very mild alcohol consumption, and only after a certain period of time. However, you should never mix your pain medication with alcohol and wait until your physician gives the okay. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always call our office and we would be happy to tell you when it’s safe to consume alcohol again.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey, and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal CarePodiatryUrologyPain ManagementENTHand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN, and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.