Patients are ordinarily instructed to fast (abstain from food and drink) prior to their operation to minimise the risk of aspiration. Aspiration is a condition where gastric content regurgitates up the oesophagus and contaminates the airway. This can lead to a chest infection known as aspiration pneumonitis.
It is therefore extremely important that patients comply with the fasting instructions given to them by the hospital.
As a general rule, patients booked for a morning list should not have anything to eat or drink from midnight the night before. Those for an afternoon list should have a light breakfast completed prior to 7:00 AM the morning of the procedure and then nothing to eat or drink thereafter. Occasionally small sips of clear fluids, including water, clear cordials or clear apple juice can be taken up to the time of admission to hospital.
If you are unsure, please check with your admitting hospital.
Generally, all your medications can be taken as per usual with a small sip of water unless instructed otherwise by your Surgeon, the hospital, or by our Anaesthetists.
Medications that may require adjustment include:
- Blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban or clopidrogrel
- Diabetic medications including insulin therapies
- Pain relief medications
Please ensure your Surgeon is aware if you are taking any of these medications.
Smoking increases the risk of airway complications during anaesthesia, as well as increasing the risk of post-operative complications such as poor wound healing and infection. Smoking cessation prior to your surgery has been shown to have beneficial effects.
The greatest benefit occurs when smoking has ceased for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery. Nevertheless, even stopping or reducing your cigarette consumption in the 24 hours before your operation is beneficial for your health. As such the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists strongly advocates patients to quit smoking.
If you are concerned regarding the risk of cravings after your operation, please speak to your Surgeon or Anaesthetist about considering nicotine replacement therapy. For more information, please visit the Quit website.