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The day of your surgery

Food and liquid restrictions before surgery

The following are based on your arrival time to the hospital, not your scheduled surgery time.

Smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco: 24 hours

  • Do not smoke, vape, use chewing tobacco or use any other tobacco products up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This will reduce the risk of complications (problems).
  • If you do use tobacco products within 8 hours of your scheduled arrival time, your surgery may be delayed or canceled.

Alcohol: 24 hours

Do not drink alcohol up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival time.

Solid food: 8 hours

You may eat your regular foods up to eight hours before your scheduled arrival time.

Solid food: 6 hours

You may eat a light meal up to 6 hours before your scheduled arrival time. A light meal is: one of these:

  • 2 pieces of toast with a light topping
  • 1 granola or protein bar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) oatmeal or other hot cereal

and one of these:

  • 16 ounces of milk, coffee (with or without cream),juice (with or without pulp) or a sports drink        

Breastmilk: 4 hours

Breastfeeding babies may have breastmilk up to four hours before the scheduled arrival time.

Clear liquids: 2 hours

Drink clear liquids up to two hours before your scheduled arrival time. Clear liquids are only these:

  • water
  • fruit juice without pulp
  • sports drinks
  • soda
  • black coffee without cream or creamer
  • tea without cream or creamer

Drink 12 to 20 ounces of electrolyte sports drink (Gatorade® or Powerade®) two hours before your scheduled arrival time.

Hard candy and gum: 2 hours

  • You may have hard candy (such as a lemon drop or throat lozenge) or chew gum up to two hours before your scheduled arrival time.
  • You may use gums and lozenges for tobacco cravings up to two hours before your scheduled arrival time.

Nutritional Supplement: 2 hours

Drink your nutritional supplement two hours before your surgery, unless your doctor gives you other instructions.

Medicines

Take your prescribed heart,blood pressure, asthma, anti-Parkinson’s, steroid, seizure or pain medicines as directed with a small sip of water, unless your doctor gives you other instructions.

What to wear

Dress in comfortable clothing.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Understanding Your Colon or Rectal Surgery, can-ah-95399
First Published: 01/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 08/15/2017