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Hydration Prior To Surgery

Adequate hydration is important in all walks of life, it is no exception in surgery. It is, therefore, our recommendation prior to surgery you make sure that you remain well-hydrated. Prior to surgery up until two hours (no later than 4 AM), we request you have a planned clear liquid drink so that you might have less postoperative issues regarding nausea and headaches and the typical postoperative complaints you hear about. It is well-documented in the literature for which I have included some of the articles for your enlightenment that patients who are well-hydrated do better. Obviously, we want you “at the top of your class”, and therefore, would recommend you at least taking a huge glass of water prior to retiring the night before surgery. In all likelihood when you get up to void that large glass of water, you consume one more slug of a good, clear, wholesome glass of water.

This comes at somewhat of a surprise to many of you in that it is an old misconception that you need to be NPO (non per os) prior to surgery. But in fact, clear liquids pass through our bodies very quickly and are not a detriment or difficulty for the Anesthesia Department. In fact it makes their life as well as ours a lot more pleasant knowing that you will be comfortable postoperatively. Remember Do not drink liquids after 4:00 am the morning of surgery.


  1. Willcutts et al, Pre-op NPO and Traditional Post-op Diet Advancement: Time to move on, Practical Gastroenterology, December 2010
  2. Practice Guidelines for Preoperative Fasting and the Use of Pharmacologic Agents to Reduce the Risk of Pulmonary Aspiration: Application to Healthy Patients Undergoing Elective Procedures, An Updated Report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Committee on Standards and Practice Parameters.
  3. Crenshaw et al, Preoperative Fasting: Will the Evidence Ever Be Put into Practice? AJN American Journal of Nursing.