Fasting Before Surgery

Fasting Before Surgery

One of the unpleasant aspects of my son’s operation was not allowing him to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. He was too young to understand – especially when the surgery start time was delayed.

The practice of fasting was begun to prevent vomiting with the anesthesia. While surgery and anesthesia have both changed since, this practice hasn’t.

A study presented at the 21st Annual Conference of the European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN) in 1999, suggests that not only are there no increased complications from feeding before surgery, but that those who do get a carbohydrate beverage feel better and recover more quickly!

This is consistent with experience in Canada, where some physicians have been giving lemonade before surgery for ten years. Another benefit of nutrition!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if further research confirms these findings, and the traditional “nothing by mouth” becomes a thing of the past!

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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