Why Can’t I Eat Before Receiving Anesthesia?

Many of La Peer’s patients wonder why they can’t eat or drink anything hours before receiving anesthesia and going into surgery. The reason your doctor tells you not to eat or drink anything before surgery is to prevent aspiration.

Aspiration occurs when food or stomach acids enter the lungs while you under anesthesia, which can be fatal in some cases.

When under anesthesia your involuntary reflexes to cough or gag are inhibited.  All of your muscles are so relaxed that you do not have control over them.  If you have food or fluids in your stomach you could potentially regurgitate the contents into your airway and it will consequently enter your lungs.  This can lead to a blockage in your airway, a severe cough, or cause a lung infection.

To decrease your risk of aspiration it is important that you follow your doctor’s pre-surgery guidelines about eating and drinking.

The Department of Anesthesiology at La Peer is solely focused on your health, preparation for surgery, and a successful surgery.

To learn more about the anesthesia please call La Peer Health Systems at (855) 360-9119 or send an e-mail to [email protected]