Fasting from food or drink is required for safety before any anaesthesia. 


In adults, six hours fasting time for food is required. In practice this means no food from midnight before morning surgery and from 7am for afternoon surgery. No chewing gum or sweets either. Milk, drinks containing milk, and all tea and coffee must be stopped six hours before surgery.

However adults having elective surgery may drink clear fluids such as apple juice without "bits", cordial, or water in moderate amounts up to two hours before surgery. "Clear" means you can read a newspaper through the fluid.  


Children are encouraged to drink sweet clear fluids such as clear apple juice or cordial, or water, until two hours before surgery. In practice this means drinking up to 6am for a morning list or 11:30 am for an afternoon list. This has been shown to prevent dehydration and possibly increase children's comfort after surgery. Please bring your child's water bottle or cup with you to hospital and you will be advised if your child can drink some more before surgery.


Most medications are continued all through the surgical period and should be taken at their normal times with a sip of water. If you take blood thinners you should receive instructions from your surgeon as these may need to be stopped. These include aspirinwarfarin (Coumadin, Marevan), dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), heparin, Clexane and clopidogrel (Iscover, Plavix).

Herbal Medications

It is important you tell us about any herbal, traditional or alternative medications you are taking. In particular we routinely request certain medications are stopped before surgery: these include fish oil, garlic, ginger, gingko and ginseng. Ideally they should be stopped two weeks before surgery. If your surgery is booked with less than two weeks to go, please stop them when booked. 


If you require management of diabetes in this period please contact our rooms unless you have already received instructions from your anaesthetist, GP or diabetes specialist. Please call the rooms if unsure about any medication management in the leadup to surgery.

Special Arrangements

Patients whose surgery may take place later in the afternoon may be given personalised instructions to prevent excessive fasting times and increase your comfort. We will discuss this with you by telephone prior to your surgery.