Fasting for an Anaesthetic

Fasting before your anaesthetic is vitally important for your health and safety. When you are anaethetised, you are unable to care for your airway. To minimise the risk of regurgitation into your lungs, it’s best to follow the recommended 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 exceptions are –

  • 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,