Preoperative instructions

We would encourage you to read these instructions before coming into hospital.

Starvation guidelines


It is important your stomach is empty before you have an anaesthetic for safety reasons. You must not have anything to eat for 6 hours before your anaesthetic. This usually means, if your operation is scheduled for the morning, a bedtime snack the night before is recommended.  For an afternoon operation a “light” early breakfast of cereal and toast between six and seven o’clock is allowed.  No fatty foods should be consumed, as they take longer to digest. Please follow the specific advice you are given prior to admission.


You may drink clear fluids up to 2 hours prior to surgery. Clear fluids are

  • Water
  • Black tea or coffee
  • Diluted fruit squash

It is fine to drink a small glass of water to take your tablets, if necessary.

Please do not drink milk based drinks, fruit juice or carbonated (fizzy) drinks as these remain in the stomach for longer.

Chewing gum

Please avoid chewing gum or sweets for 6 hours prior to anaesthesia.


Ideally, stop smoking 6 weeks before your operation to reverse most of the adverse effects.


 Please bring a complete list of all your medications and allergies to the pre-operative clinic. On the day of surgery, remember to bring all your medicines including inhalers with you.

In most circumstances we would like you to continue your regular medicines on the day of surgery, however there are some exceptions as listed below. It can be confusing which tablets to take, please read carefully.

  • Do not take any drugs ending in –pril or –sartan on the day of surgery; these tablets are used to treat high blood pressure
  • Do not take any of your diabetic tablets on the day of surgery except metformin, which should not be stopped
  • If you take warfarin, clopidogrel, rivaroxiban, dabigatran or apixiban please let your surgeon and the pre-operative nurse know. These drugs will need to be stopped prior to surgery and you may need replacement therapy. Do not stop these drugs without medical advice and please follow the advice given at the pre-operative visit carefully to avoid cancellation of surgery
  • For some operations, the surgeon may ask you to stop medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or the contraceptive pill. They will let you know if this is the case.

Herbal Remedies

We advise you not to take any herbal medications for at least a week prior to surgery as they can interact with the anaesthetic drugs.


Please let your anaesthetist know if you have any loose teeth, caps, crowns or bridges as there is a potential risk of damage under anaesthesia. If you wear dentures, please remember to bring a pot to store them in as you may need to remove them before the anaesthetic.

Contact lenses

You will need to remove your contact lenses prior to anaesthesia so please remember to bring your glasses.

 Body piercing

Please remove all body piercing as there is a risk of pressure damage or burns to the skin


Should you have any queries or would like to discuss your anaesthetic then please contact
our private secretary Mrs Rachael Seal.