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Preoperative instructions


To minimize the danger of vomiting and possibly inhaling stomach contents into the lungs, the following guidelines have been established in accordance with most recent guidelines from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2017. The guidelines are intended for healthy children of all ages undergoing elective surgery. These guidelines may be modified for patients with coexisting diseases or conditions that can affect gastric emptying. If the guidelines are not followed, then surgery may be postponed or canceled.

  • ALL SOLID FOOD should be consumed more than 8 hours prior to presenting for surgery. If surgery is at 7:00 AM, then no solid food after 11:00 PM.
  • Nonhuman milk (8 ounces or less) or a light meal (e.g., toast or crackers) may be consumed up to 6 hours prior to anesthesia. If surgery is at 1:00 PM, then no more light snacks after 7:00 AM.
  • Infant formula may be consumed up to 6 hours prior to surgery.
  • All gastrostomy and jejunostomy may be given up to 6 hours prior to surgery.
  • For breastfeeding infants, breast milk may be consumed up to 4 hours prior to anesthesia. The infant should finish breastfeeding at least 4 hours before the start of surgery.
  • Clear liquids such as juice without pulp, electrolyte drinks or water may be consumed up to 2 hours prior to arrival at the hospital for surgery. The volume of liquids should not exceed 8 ounces in the last 2 hours before surgery.
  • Preoperative oral or gastric-tube medications should be limited to the minimal volume necessary and administered with no more than 10-15 mL of water or clear juice. The medication should be given at least 30-60 minutes prior to anesthesia.