Fasting before your anaesthetic is vitally important. You should receive written instructions from your surgeon or proceduralist outlining the fasting requirements before your surgery. The following is provided as general advice.

  • Eating and drinking
  • You should not eat any solid food for six hours before the time you are scheduled to arrive at the hospital. However, you may still drink water up to two hours before you are scheduled to arrive at the hospital.
  • Chewing gum (including nicotine gum) or eating sweets is not allowed when you are fasting.

Different fasting rules apply to small infants who are fully breastfed or taking infant formula. Please contact Parkville Anaesthesia if you have any questions or concerns.


Again, your surgeon or proceduralist will provide you with instructions on which medications you should stop before the surgery. We recommend that you take all

Your medications as normal with a small sip of water even if you are fasting. The following are exceptions

-medications that you usually take with food

-diabetic medications (tablets or insulin) should not be taken when you are fasting. Please contact your surgeon or Parkville Anaesthesia  if you require further advice on

how to manage your diabetes medication during your time in hospital

-medications that can make you bleed. Some of these medications may need to be stopped up to 10 days before your procedure.

Remember to bring all your regular medications with you when you come to hospital.

Further information about fasting can be located here,

Do I need to fast prior to surgery?

Yes, fasting (not eating or drinking) is essential prior to sedation or a general anaesthesia. Fasting reduces the risk of regurgitating the contents of the stomach which, if it occurs, may lead to damage to the lungs by the stomach acid. Some people may have medical conditions which require specific or different instructions and, if this applies to you, these instructions will be given to you by your doctor. Each hospital has its own instructions that you should follow.

The following fasting guidelines are recommended by ANZCA.

  • For adults having an elective procedure, limited non-fatty solid food may be taken up to six hours prior to anaesthesia. In most circumstances, patients are encouraged to drink clear fluids for up to two hours prior to anaesthesia.  Clear fluids are water, pulp free fruit juice, clear cordial, black tea and coffee. Cloudy or milk based drinks or alcohol are not to be taken.
  • For children over six months of age having an elective procedure, breast milk or formula and limited solid food may be given up to six hours and clear fluids are encouraged up to two hours prior to anaesthesia.
  • For infants under six months of age having an elective procedure, formula may be given up to four hours, breast milk up to three hours and clear fluids up to two hours prior to anaesthesia.
  • Prescribed medications may be taken with a sip of water less than two hours prior to anaesthesia unless otherwise directed.

These fasting guidelines may not apply to certain patient groups at increased risk of perioperative regurgitation or vomiting.

Chewing gum must be discarded.