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

Why You Need to Fast Before Surgery

When preparing for your surgery, your pre-operative nurse at Specialty Surgical Center may instruct you not to eat anything anywhere from 4-8 hours before your surgery. If your surgery does not target the digestive tract, you may be wondering why this is necessary.

Ultimately, eating or drinking before surgery puts you at risk for certain complications while under anesthesia.

There are muscles that prevent food from going into your lungs. You may have felt that “food going down the wrong tube” sensation before, especially if you’ve inhaled while swallowing. The muscles in your stomach and gag reflex are normally relaxed during surgery, so if you vomit your stomach contents while under anesthesia, food could get caught in your lungs. This is called pulmonary aspiration.

Pulmonary aspiration, or just aspiration, is when your stomach contents (food, saliva, acids) get into your lower airways. This is a serious condition that may lead to pneumonia or even death.

If you accidentally forget this pre-surgery guideline and have food during the restricted time frame, call Specialty Surgical Center right away. They may need to reschedule your surgery for a future date.

Depending on the type of surgery you are having, you may not be able to have beverages other than water, as you are fasting. Water may be permitted up until 2 hours before your procedure.

A common question that our specialists get asked is if it is ok to take medications while fasting. Prescribed medications for conditions such as seizures, asthma, or diabetes can still be taken with small amounts of water if your doctor allows.

However, you may be advised not to take over-the-counter aspirins or ibuprofens the week before surgery.  These medications affect the way your blood clots, and if you take them before surgery, you could experience excessive bleeding during your surgery.

Ask your doctor if you are unsure if your medication is safe to have before surgery, and if not, how long you can take it up until your surgery.

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 Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

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