General Guidelines Prior to Surgery

For most procedures it is necessary for you to have an empty stomach, so that the chance of regurgitating any undigested food or liquids is greatly reduced. Some anesthetics suspend your normal reflexes so that your body's automatic defenses may not be working. For example, your lungs normally are protected from objects, such as undigested food, from entering them. However, this natural protection does not occur while you are anesthetized. So for your safety you may be told to fast (no food or liquids) before surgery. Your doctor will tell you specifically whether you can or cannot eat and drink and for how long.

In addition, the anesthesiologist may instruct you to take certain medications with a little water during your fasting time. For your own safety, it is very important that you follow these instructions carefully about fasting and medications. If you do not, it may be necessary to postpone surgery.

Please be certain that your anesthesiologist is aware of any special dental appliances, caps or partial bridges that you may have. Dentures and contact lenses must be removed prior to surgery and can usually be replaced shortly after your arrival in the recovery room. Please advise your doctor pre-operatively if you have any loose, damaged or diseased teeth.

Although nail polish, make-up and acrylic nails are acceptable, you should be aware that these are not recommended since they may interfere with your anesthesiologist’s ability to optimally observe any changes in your condition during surgery.

All jewelry, including rings, should be removed and left at home. No alcohol should be consumed 24 hours prior or after your surgical experience. Cigarette smoking should be stopped or significantly curtailed one week prior to your operation. In addition, any symptoms of a cold or upper respiratory tract infection should be reported immediately to your surgeon.

Lastly, please be sure to advise your anesthesiologist if you or any blood relatives have any history of Sickle Cell Disease or prior anesthetic difficulties including Malignant Hyperthermia or problems involving muscle relaxants.