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Fasting Instructions

Your surgeon will generally advise you on how long before your procedure you should not eat and drink, what drugs to take and not to take, and the likely duration of your stay in hospital, and those are the instruction you should follow.

Our usual instructions for fasting times and drugs prior to your surgery are as follows but only if directed to do so by your anaesthetist:

When should I fast from?

For adults, anaesethetists are unlikely to anaesthetise a patient unless they have been fasted for at least six hours prior to the procedure, although there are exceptions for emergency surgery. Water is usually allowed up to 2 hours prior to the procedure. In some cases, there is a bowel preparation that is required, and this will result in not being able to eat for considerably longer than 6 hours dependent on the particular preparation.

However, these fasting times are only general guides, and your specific fasting time will be provided to your for your procedure.

What about my tablets?

Most tablets are usually continued up to the day of surgery, but there are exceptions for tablets that can thin the blood, such as aspirin, warfarin, and novel anticoagulants. Your surgeon will provide instructions for your specific situation. Tablets can be taken with a small sip of water even when fasting.


We discuss diabetes drugs and insulin in a separate section.

These are guidelines only and should not replace specific instructions by your surgeon or specific anaesthetist.

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