Great Lakes Anesthesiology

Preoperative Fasting Policy For Healthy Patients Undergoing

Elective Surgery

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo


All healthy patients scheduled for elective surgery are expected to fast for at least the following times prior to surgery:

                                                                                                      Minimum Fasting Time

  • Clear Liquids (non-pulp, non-particulate)*                        2 hours prior to surgery
  • Breast Milk                                                                           4 hours prior to surgery
  • Non-human milk (cow’s milk)                                             6 hours prior to surgery 
  • Infant formula                                                                      6 hours prior to surgery
  • Solid Food                                                                            8 hours prior to surgery (Nothing after midnight)

*Clear liquids include:  water, sugar water, Pedialyte, 7-Up, Gatorade, pulp-free apple or grape juice. Orange juice is not a clear liquid.

*Gum chewing is considered a clear liquid because it promotes formation of gastric secretions. However, if gum is swallowed, it is a solid food and 8 hours of fasting is required prior to surgery.

The amount of solid food or formula ingested by the patient does not change the required fasting time.

If a patient has not followed this fasting policy, surgery may be rescheduled or postponed to a later date in order to protect the patient from possible life-threatening complications of aspiration pneumonia.

​Do not give gum or candy to your child on the day of surgery, in order to avoid rescheduling of the operation.