Hydration: Tips on Water Before and After Surgery

If you are someone you know has gone through surgery, you should be aware of the basic instructions that need to be followed both pre- and post-surgery. For those that have an upcoming surgery, follow the pre-op instructions from your doctor.

Fasting is one of the most important criteria before a surgery. And when the doctors say fasting it means no water.  But you would think that water is the most essential component for your well-being? Our brain is made up of 74% water, our bones consist of 22 percent of water and of course our blood is comprised of 83 percent water. And yet doctors ask us to fast before surgery? Why? Let’s read ahead and find out why.

Hydration before surgery

One of the most common rules before any kind of surgery is to fast 12 hours before surgery. This is done as a precautionary measure. If there is excess water in your system during a surgery, it can lead to pulmonary aspiration. This means if your stomach consists of any water, it will enter your lungs and potentially block the airways and cause major infections such as pneumonia. This situation can lead to death. Scary!

This of course is not the case with all patients and most likely a small amount of water hours before surgery will be OK. Now if the patient has had a glass of water right before surgery and is weak or elderly or both can increase the chance of being a lethal mistake. Healthy patients who are about to have minor surgery can consume a glass of water 4 hours before surgery. Of course, if your doctor has advised you too fast for 12 hours it is highly recommended that you adhere to his or her instructions. It definitely reduces the chances of causing any complication.

It is now advisable to drink clear liquids 2 hours before the surgery, breast milk 4 hours before, non-human milk and solid light food 6 hours before, and anything else 8 hours before the surgery. These are more relaxed guidelines to be followed but only under the advice of a doctor. But it is always important to follow the advice of your doctor.

Hydration after surgery

It is absolutely essential to stay fully hydrated post-surgery. This is done to avoid potential surgical complications, including vein thrombosis, which is a clot that is built up in the major veins of the thighs and legs. The patient can also suffer from pulmonary embolism.

After the surgery your immune system is extremely weak, thus increasing the chances of an infection. Water helps keep these infections away and acts as a catalyst to your recovery. Furthermore, water helps your body get rid of toxins from the anesthesia. So drinking water post-surgery can be very helpful in all aspects of recovery.

Although these rules have been followed for years, doctors today are becoming increasingly more lenient about the rules of fasting pre surgery.

Certain studies have suggested that it is better to drink water before surgery. It may be easier for the patient to recover from the surgery itself. Either way, your doctor is the best person to advise you about the consumption of water before and after your surgery.

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