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Questions & Answers The Surgical Experience About Anaesthesia 

How long before my operation do I need to stop eating and drinking?

Normally you will be advised to stop eating and drinking eight hours before your procedure. In some circumstances this may change but you should seek confirmation from your team and anaesthetist. It is very important that you follow the advice of your team as any problem may cause your procedure to be cancelled for your safety.

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Why can't I eat or drink before my procedure?

It is vitally important, for you own safety, that you not drink or eat anything before your procedure, even if you are having a local anaesthetic. Times will vary according to the institution and you should check with your team.

You are advised not to eat or drink because of the danger of inhaling stomach contents, a process called "aspiration." When you are awake your body has an effective mechanism to stop this from happening, however when you are unconscious this mechanism does not work.

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Should I continue to take my prescribed medications?

In most cases it is important to continue taking your medications up to and including the day of your surgery. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, so it's important to tell your team about all the types of drugs you are taking now or have used recently.

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Which of my medications do I need to tell my anesthetist about?

When you talk to your anaesthetist before surgery please show him or her all the medications you have been taking, including over-the-counter pills, supplements and other substances. This helps reduce the chance of an unexpected interaction between your anaesthetics and the other drugs present in your system.

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I recently had a cold, will I still be able to have surgery?

If you are an adult and are not feeling unwell, there is usually no cause for concern. If you suffer from chest problems like asthma or bronchitis, however, it would be wise to discuss this with your team before your operation. In the case of a child, if the patient has had a cold in the last two weeks this should be discussed with the team.

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Should I give up smoking?

Smoking can have an adverse effect on many operations. If you are considering stopping smoking, you should allow six weeks for the effects of smoking to wear off before your procedure.

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A close relative had a problem with anaesthetic. Should I be concerned?

You should discuss any family history of this kind with your anaesthetist before your surgery. Knowing exactly what happened can help your anaesthetist prepare for your procedure.

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I have crowns / bridges / veneers / dentures. Will this be a problem?

Please tell your team about any crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures or loose teeth. The special instruments used to place breathing tubes in very exact position can damage loose teeth or crowns. It is also possible that biting down on teeth or crowns as you wake up could cause a problem. We know how important your teeth and dental work are to you and will take special care to protect them; however in rare cases they may be damaged.

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I suspect I may be allergic to certain drugs and substances. Is this a problem?

It's important to tell your team about any allergies you suspect - even if you're not absolutely sure.

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to a drug during anaesthesia, but the chance of this happing is extremely low. If it were to happen, it is unlikely you would suffer any permanent harm as anaesthetists are experts at recognizing and treating allergic reactions, particularly those that occur during anaesthesia.

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What if I'm allergic to anaesthesia?

Some people believe they are allergic to anaesthesia because they've experienced nausea and vomiting after having an anaesthetic, however that is not the case. Nausea and vomiting are side effects. True allergic reactions produce hives on the skin, wheezing, swelling of the mouth, throat or eyes and sometimes a drop in blood pressure. Although true allergic reactions can occur with anesthetics, they are extremely rare. Please discuss your concerns with your team.

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I'm allergic to rubber and latex products. Should I tell my anaesthetist?

Yes. Latex allergy is an increasingly common allergy that is usually not serious. However, if you think you have a latex allergy you should tell your surgeon and your anaesthetist promptly. Many latex and rubber products are used in the theatre setting. Informing your team as early as possible will allow them to see that these products are removed so your exposure to them is minimized.

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Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

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