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The day before surgery

Eating and drinking:

Your child stomach must be completely empty at the time of surgery to avoid spillage of stomach contents into the lungs. If this happens, it can lead to serious problems like lung infection and fever after surgery.

For this reason, our anesthesia team set strict guidelines to follow before surgery:

For infants younger than 24 months

  • Eight hours before surgery:

Your child should stop eating solid foods and stop drinking milk and formula. Solid foods include candy and gum.   

It is OK to continue clear liquids only.

  • Four hours before surgery:

No eating or drinking of any sort allowed. This includes breast milk and clear liquids.

A clear liquid is any drink that you can see through (no pulp). This includes water, clear juice, Pedialyte and popsicles.

Remember, You will usually arrive 1-1.5 hours prior to the scheduled time of surgery.

For children older than 24 months (who can sleep through the night)

  • No eating or drinking starting at midnight the night before surgery.

If these guidelines are not followed, your child's surgery might be cancelled for his/her safety


  • Your child should continue his/her regular medicine the day before surgery.

  • On the day of surgery, if your child has to take a medication, he/she can do so with a small sip of water 2 hours before surgery. If mixing with apple sauce is needed, you can do so at least 4 hours prior to surgery

  • Please talk to your primary care physician and our office regarding what medications your child can and cannot have.

  • Please avoid giving your child Motrin, Ibuprofen, Advil or Aspirin 5-7 days before surgery unless our surgeon asks you to do so.

  • If your child has diabetes, talk to his/her endocrinologist about how to best control the diabetes before surgery and what medications to take the day of surgery. For patients receiving insulin using a pump, the pump will keep your blood sugar checked before and during the surgery. Make sure you tell the anesthesia team about the pump.  

  • Please bring a complete list of your child medications the day of surgery.


It is advised to take a shower or bath the night before surgery. For older children, using Hibiclens or a similar antiseptic is recommended to reduce the bacterial load on the skin.

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