Those that drink--what did you do the days before surgery.

Am i the only person that has silly questions on here?

Ok regulars will know I like a drink. At the pre-op evaluation I was asked what my consumption was and I said oh its high,6-10 units. he said 6-10 units a week is not that bad, I said --no thats each day.

Raised eyebrows but no advice about what to do pre-op. And I never thought to ask. I am going on a family holiday to france. That would normally increase the food and drink levels, but I am sensible enough to think about giving my body a chance to deal with the drugs I am going to get etc.

I think if i were at home i would think about having three nights alcohol free before the op. On saturday however is THE big familly holiday night out. Do I sit at the feast like banco’s ghost or do i try not get totally blotto, and then just have two days without the booze. Sunday night at home by myself, no problem looking after myself and abstaining. monday family back in london and all rushing to pub to have that english beer that we have been missing–well I will just not go to the pub and have a glass of hot milk watching the episode of the apprentice that i will have recorded.

So, those of you that enjoy a bottle of wine and have not changed recently–what did you do about alcohol before your surgery??

I was a moderate drinker and I didn’t drink for a few day before surgery. I would try and cut down - drinking raises the risk of complications after surgery:

Edit - for some reason that link won’t work - but google “alcohol surgery risks medscape” and you’ll get the article. It says heavy drinking raises the risk of complications after surgery by up to 400%.

I ‘like’ a drink too, but there come times when it’s not suitable. Try thinking, later on. Maybe during chemo or after surgery. Times when it’s not going to be a good idea. There are bigger priorities than a bottle of wine before bedtime.

I used to like to share a bottle of wine with dinner before I got poisoned regularly.

However, the rules for surgery are similar to the rules about preparing for a scuba dive. The mind and body should be clear of stuff that could interfere with clear thinking and bodily processes that your life could depend on. No-one is allowed to dive with alcohol in their system as this could impair mental and physical reaction times. So no drinking more than a swift drink the night before a dive.

To give your body the best chance, shower, don’t apply aerosol deodorant or perfume, and keep the drugs that depress the CNS (central nervous system) in their bottle.

a swift drink the night before-- more than i was thinking of.

finty the link would not work for me either. the only research i found by googling was the one that hit all the papers a few years ago, but when you dug out the original report it turned out to be experiments on mice. thalodomide was tested on mice, with no ill effects. so i would be a bit wary of taking notice of that one, but if its a different study that i did not spot that would be interesting

The swift drink the night before was WRT a spot of scuba diving, not surgery. I really wouldn’t drink the night before surgery as it stays in the bloodstream for at least 24 hours and it is a depressant so therefore will suppress the CNS. If you are nil by mouth from midnight, for example, the last thing in your stomach really shouldn’t be a poison like alcofrol.

mmm, i think have a good night with the family on saturday and then nothing on sunday and monday sounds like a good idea then

Best not have a vindaloo, either - think about the gasman! ;o)

You should also do the “prep for sport” thing in the few days running up to it, and plump up all your body’s cells by hydrating properly. Drink more fluids than you usually would, but try to avoid those with diuretic effects (for me, that definitely includes beer and wine but tea also makes me wee like a full-on tap), so get yourself outside lots of other non-alcoholic stuff. It might be worth trying to find something that you quite like the taste of, that’s not too sweet. I think there was a thread a while back that asked for suggestions for an alternative to a glass of wine, you may find someone very helpful finds it. (I think it got a bit side-tracked IIRC, so you might just find the first page or two useful).

How about getting a taste for something a bit out of the ordinary? Like elderflower cordial made with sparkling water? Or clear apple juice also with sparkling water and loads of ice? Makes it feel a bit more like a grown-up drink if it’s got a bit of fizz without too much sweetness, I find. You might have other concoctions you can experiment with. Ginger beer, perhaps? (No, sadly I didn’t mean Crabbies this time…)

Anyway, as prep for surgery it’d probably be sensible to cut down, even if you don’t feel like cutting out completely. Similarly afterwards you’ll have anaesthetic floating round your system for a couple of days, so with the hangover from anaesthetics you might just not feel like having a glass of wine and will feel better with Horlicks or hot chocolate.

Best of luck for the op, whenever it is. I’ll raise a glass of something tasty to you, that or a mug of tea!

aol - we must have been looking at different studies! Mine was a large review of human stats. I can’t work out why the link won’t work, so here is an excerpt:

Several studies have described the association between hazardous alcohol intake and an increase in postoperative morbidity, and this appears to show a dose-response relationship.[60] The complication rate is about 50% higher when drinking 3-4 drinks per day compared with 0-2 per day, and this difference is of significance in some studies,[32,56,63] but not in all.[16,60] The complication rate increases to 200-400% when drinking 5 drinks or more per day. In this review focusing on surgical patients hazardous drinking is defined as drinking 3 or more drinks per day (with 1 drink equating to 12 g of ethanol), thus reflecting the WHO description. Hazardous drinking exceeds the intake defined as heavy drinking and the general WHO recommendation of a maximal annual intake at no more than 6 litre ethanol per capita (children and young adults excluded).[82]

Edited to remove references to smoking, as irrelevant in this case. If you c & P the first line into google search it will take you to the whole article.

As CM has said - hydration is important pre-surgery It also helps them find tricky veins.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have a fab holiday and all goes well for you.

finty x

I wouldnt drink a few days before surgery nor smoke either as it could affect how you come round after your op. And the last thing I wanted was to feel sick needed to get well quickly,
But that is my own opinion.

Hi O&L,

I would be the one that would have a few drinks with my family on the Saturday night, maybe a cpl less than the norm but would certainly get out & let my hair (that i would of still had) down for the last time for a while before the serious business starts, as you say you have the Sunday & Monday to be alcohol free.

Hope all goes well with your Op & that you have a fab night with the family.


Hydration? Never entered my head. I don’t seem to get thirsty. Would never dream of drinking water or any soft drink except occasionally after my evening meal and if the pub is hot and I get sweaty playing I would drink some water between songs. Occasionally after too much alcohol I wake up in the night for water, but then I slap my wrists for overindulging. I know my body cannot handle more than bottle and it is foolish at any time for me to open the second.

Think you are right… Have a good Saturday night, not just for my sake bot for the family. And then two full days to clear the system. Might give up caffiene too

Hydration is an interesting issue aol - many people are permanently mildly dehydrated without ever realising it - it causes moodiness, headaches and concentration issues. When I used to drink a lot of coffee and not enough water it had this effect on me.

As someone who drinks, I often alternate wine with water - always have both on the table - might be worth building that up while you’re away and then sticking to water the last couple of days - better you get over the op, sooner you get back to feeling good.
Like lots of us, will be thinking of you during the op, but have a lovely holiday too xxx

dont get headaches, moodiness or lack of concentration so I dont see that i can be dehydrated. yes I know about the wine and water theory, i once did try alternating glass for glass, but I just ended up feeling terribly bloated and out of balance so i stopped. think this drinking water lark is a bit over-rated.

There is nothing in the hospital literatur about drinking lots of water the day before.

But i still think its right to cut back the booze so my liver has a better chance with all the drugs they are going to pump into me.

Hi, I had a blow out but 4 days before my op. I drank plenty of water in the couple of days leading up to surgery, and ate plenty of melon, and smoothies with added protein powder - to help with post surgery healing. I was nil by mouth from midnight and only water allowed until 6am (but I slept through that) so essentially nothing from when I went to bed at roughly 11pm until my op which was eventually at 2pm (not even chewing gum) the next day and by the time I went into surgery I was gagging for anything to drink.

Coming around 2-3 hours later (approx 5pm in the evening) I went straight back into fluid mode to stave off any dehydration headaches and exhaustion from being without fluid for such a long time. I wanted to flush the anaesthesia out of my system and I knew that the sooner I did, the sooner I would be fit to get home (I must’ve drunk 2 litres of water that evening).

Hope you make the right decision for you, have a fab holiday and hope the op goes well for you.
Bev x

When I had my BC surgery I didn’t drink the night before BUT a couple of years ago I had surgery and was admitted the day before. I was having the operation at a private hospital and I was offered wine with my evening meal!!..they obvioulsy didn’t feel there was any problem with that!!


YAF, it’s not just about drinking lots of water the day before but increasing your fluid intake several days beforehand so the individual cells (rather than just your poor bladder) are nicely plumped up.

The colour of your wee is a fair indicator of hydration. If you’re well hydrated you’ll need to go more often than usual, and it will be very very pale in colour. If you can keep it pale for a day or two before your op you won’t be doing yourself any harm.

Forgot to mention keeping up with the hydration afterwards to flush the anaesthetics out more quickly, and being well soaked beforehand also helps with this. I know you’re keen to get back on the move afterwards, so a few more glasses of liquid is an easy way to help.

My surgeon told me to have a glass of wine to settle my nerves. I said ok that sounds grand - just make sure you don’t have too many before putting the scalpel on me!