Skip to main content

What may I eat prior to surgery?


What may I eat prior to surgery?

It is very important to have an empty stomach prior to surgery or a procedure requiring anesthesia.  When anesthesia is given, it is common for all the normal protective reflexes to relax.  This condition increases the risk of aspiration as it easily allows stomach contents to come up the esophagus and regurgitate into the lungs and airways.  Since the stomach contains acid, any acid that ends up in the lungs may cause a pneumonia called aspiration pneumonitis. Therefore, all anesthesia providers nationwide have strict criteria regarding eating and drinking prior to surgery. Matrix Anesthesia have the following requirements for your safety:

Adult patients: We require all patients to have no food or liquids after midnight the night before surgery. For surgeries scheduled later in the day, you may be allowed to drink clear liquids up to 8 hours in advance of the surgery. However, this should be done only with the permission of the nurse via your preoperative phone call or an anesthesiologist at the facility where you are having your procedure.  Clear liquids are defined as liquids you can see through.  A good rule of thumb is if you can read printed text through the liquid, then it is considered clear (except alcoholic beverages).  These include water, apple juice and black coffee. Orange juice, milk, coffee with cream, or any alcoholic beverages are NOT clear liquids. Please refrain from drinking these items on the day of surgery. If a patient has been found to consume non-clear liquids within 8 hours of surgery, the surgery may be delayed or canceled for safety reasons.

For Children: For children age 5 and under, please have them refrain from eating all solids 6 hours prior to surgery. Children may have clear liquids (see above) up until 4 hours prior to the scheduled surgical time. Breast milk is not considered a clear liquid. Clear apple juice or pedialyte is a good alternative. If you feel your child may have difficulty the morning of surgery without their normal feeding, please consider waking the child during the night to give the child clear liquids up until 4 hours prior to surgery.


Related Questions: