General Surgery-Why You Shouldn’t Eat or Drink Before the Procedure

There are different types general surgeries; these include gall bladder, thyroid, colon cancer surgery, and more. During such procedures, the surgeon will guide you on the dos and don’ts, and a common instruction is not to eat or drink before the surgery. Why, you ask? Some procedures require bowel prep, a process that eradicates food and stool from your digestive tract. There are different categories of general surgeries, and all come with varying instructions, though!

Why shouldn’t I eat before surgery?

Your General Surgeon will advise you to avoid snacking or drinking before surgery. The primary reason is that food in your tummy can lead to severe problems after anesthesia administration. These include;

  • The risk of aspiration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  •  Bowel prep interference 
  • Risk of infections and surgical complications

1. Aspiration

 Aspiration happens when food or drink enters your airway. It’s a common complication of general anesthesia but can still occur when you’re sedated or very sick. If food enters your airway when you’re conscious, your body will respond through a cough, vomit, or gag. This will help eliminate the substance out of your airway. But, this gets tricky when under general anesthesia since you can’t react to aspiration. Besides, you’re unconscious and can’t cough or spit anything out.

2. Nausea& vomiting

 This is yet another common complication of surgery. However, it’s easy to prevent that control or treat, and this is why the surgeon will advise that you undergo surgery on an empty stomach. While under anesthesia, food or fluids in your stomach can cause vomiting, making you aspirate this into your lungs.

3. Eating will ruin the bowel prep.

Food in your gastrointestinal system can complicate the procedure leading to infections. If bowel preparation is performed before the surgery, it will undo everything by emptying your gastrointestinal system. 

What should I eat when preparing for surgery?

Staying in optimal health improves your likelihood of a successful surgery. Watch your diet days or weeks before the procedure. For instance, eat protein rich-foods like pork, chicken, seafood, beans, and low-fat dairy products. Also, drink enough to stay hydrated.

 Protein plays a vital role and helps in recovery. It’s also important to stay hydrated. When you drink a lot of water, you’ll feel less thirsty during the fast. What of the last meal before the surgery? You may be tempted to eat a big meal, but this isn’t advisable. Instead, a light meal works best. This can be a soup or salad since it’s easy to digest. 

What foods should I avoid?

 If your surgical procedure involves anesthesia, avoid high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains a day before the surgery. They are slow to digest and will likely be in your digestive system during the procedure. Also, avoid fish or fish oil in the last two weeks before the surgery. 

The bottom line

There are different types of general surgeons, and you’ll likely have a successful one if you engage a skilled surgeon. The professional will guide you on what to eat and avoid before and after the procedure. Follow the instructions and adhere to the post-care routine to prevent complications.