Anaesthetic and Medical Information

Eating and drinking before your operation 

Having an anaesthetic without fasting (avoiding food and drink) beforehand can be extremely dangerous.  You should always check for specific fasting  instructions with your consultant and the hospital where you will be treated.  If you have eaten you are likely to vomit during while under anaethesia and this can damage your lungs.  It is important to follow fasting instructions, as failure to do so will likely result in an operation being postponed. 

General rules

In general patient should always avoid eating any food, soup, milk, milky drinks, tea, coffee or any chewing gum for six hours before the scheduled operation.  Water must not be consumed within two hours of the scheduled operation.  

In practical terms you will normally be told whether your operation will be in the morning, afternoon or evening.  For each of these as a rough guide:

  • Morning: patients may have a cup of water before 6am, but must not consume any kind of food after midnight (this includes milky drinks, tea, coffee and chewing gum). 
  • Afternoon: patients may have a light early breakfast including tea or coffee before 6:30am and water before 10am.  No food of any kind is allowed after 7am (this includes milky drinks, tea, coffee and chewing gum). 
  • Evening (after 5pm): patient may have a snack including tea or coffee before 11am.  No food of any kind is allowed after 12 noon (this includes milky drinks, tea, coffee and chewing gum). 

Coughs and Colds

Anaesthesia becomes significantly riskier if carried out when you are suffering from cold or flu.  If you develop a cold in the seven days before your planned admission to hospital, your surgery may be postponed.  This will depend on the nature of your surgery and the severity of your symptoms.  Please contact Mrs Mandy O'Sullivan (contact details page of this website) if you are a private patient due to undergo an operation and have any cold or flu symptoms.  For NHS patients, please contact the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. 

Medical Problems

If you have any medical problems, have had problems during or after anaesthesia in the past or if you have concerns about any aspect of your anaesthetic care you should contact Mrs Mandy O'Sullivan and give these details.  It may be necessary to arrange a consultation with your anaesthetist before your admission.  This is particularly important if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Chest disease
  • Kidney disease or Diabetes
  • Blood disorder
  • Chronic arthritis affecting your neck

This will ensure that you are properly prepared for your operation and will allow a full discussion about the various options for your anaesthetic management.  In some cases it may save you having surgery postponed after you have been admitted.  Private health insurers usually cover the cost of such consultations, though you should always check with them beforehand. 


It is important that all allergies are listed on the health questionnaire that will be sent to you by the hospital before your admission.  If you have a latex allergy please let the hospital know as soon as possible.  It would be worthwhile listing any allergies you have before any appointment with Mr Bowden so that you can give this information to him as well. 


If you are taking any medication regularly you should contact the hospital where you will have surgery and speak with a Preadmission Nurse.  Normally you will continue to take your regular medications up to and including the day of surgery.  It is important to speak with the Preadmission Nurse in case any changes or special instructions are required. 

Meeting Your Anaesthetist

Unless you have arrange a consultation prior to your admission to hospital, you will meet your anaesthetist when he or she comes to see you before your operation.  You will be asked questions about your general health, current medications, allergies and previous anaesthetics.  Your heart and lungs may be examined.  If you have had some tests, your anaesthetist will check the results.  The most appropriate anaesthetic and pain relief for your operation and any questions you may have will be discussed at this time. 

When you arrive in the operating theatre suite you will meet your anaesthetist again.  A plastic cannula will be inserted into one of your veins (usually in the back of the hand) and a monitor will be attached to keep a check on your heart, blood pressure and pulse during your operation. 

If you are having a general anaesthetic you will go to sleep after anaesthetic drugs are introduced through the cannula in your vein.  In some cases the anaesthetist may decide to use anaesthetic gas to start the process.  Your anaesthetist will stay with you throughout the operation, ensuring that the anaesthetic is safely administered and that your heart and lungs and other body systems continue to function normally. 

After the operation

Your anaesthetists will wake you up after the operation and accompany you into the recovery room.  Specially trained nurses will take care of you and will ensure that you receive appropriate pain relief. 

Once you are back on the ward the anaesthetist may visit you again to ensure that you are making a good recovery and that you are comfortable. 

If you plan to go home on the day of your operation you must have someone collect you and to be with you overnight.  Your ability to drive, use machinery or make decisions may be impaired for at least 48 hours after your operation. 

For any enquiries please contact Mrs Mandy O'Sullivan who will endeavour to help you in any way possible.