How Long After Surgery Can You Drink Alcohol (And Why)?

Exact Answer: At Least 2 Weeks 

Alcoholic beverages are consumed as recreational drinks by a major population all over the world. These beverages contain ethanol which is produced by the fermentation process of fruits (in case of wines), grains (in case of whiskey), potato (in case of vodka), etc.

It is considered both as a tonic and a poison. It can be good for the heart, circulatory system and even protect against gallstones if consumed in moderation. But long term drinking leads to several complications such as heart failure, liver complications, brain-related issues, and weakened immune system. Alcohol consumption can be addictive as well.

A patient who is scheduled to undergo surgery is advised to avoid consumption of alcohol pre and post the procedure as it can lead to complications and further worsen the situation. It is equally important to avoid alcohol before and after the surgery.

How Long After Surgery Can You Drink Alcohol

How Long After Surgery Can You Drink Alcohol?

Particular InstanceTime
Before the surgery48 hours
After the surgery2 weeks 

Surgery, a branch of medicine, that specializes in the investigation and treatment of pathological conditions, diseases, or injuries employing manual or instrumental techniques. It aims to take samples, remove lumps, remove blockages, redirect blood flow, transplant organs or tissues, improve appearance, implant stunts, etc.

Whether major or minor, surgery is a complex procedure and involves several parameters to be checked by the surgeon before performing it. Even a slight complication can prove to be fatal.

The human body is a complex structure, and every individual reacts differently to the procedure. Consumption of alcohol before and after the surgery can pose a threat to the patient who has undergone the procedure.

Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

It is advisable to abstain from alcohol for at least two weeks after the surgery. Underlying health conditions can also alter this period. It is in the patient’s best interest to follow the guideline provided by their surgeon or doctor.

Why Can You Drink Alcohol So Long After Surgery?

Surgeries involve anesthesia, pain medications, incisions, etc. Alcohol can have serious interaction with these. It is better to avoid alcohol after the surgeries as it could lead to several complications.

Alcohol consumption post-surgery can delay the healing process. It also leads to thinning of the blood. It is a grave issue as it could lead to prolonged bleeding. It also allows for the development of infections. In short, alcohol reduces the effectiveness of the immune system of the body.

Since the immune system is weak, it paves the way for several infections in the body. Pneumonia is one of the common occurrences in patients who consume alcohol after undergoing their surgeries.

Alcohol consumption can widen an individual’s blood vessels, which can lead to swelling. This swelling can cause further complications. Swelling can be there due to the surgical procedure, which eventually worsens due to consumption of alcohol.


One of the major complications is the reaction between the medications and alcohol. Its side effects include fainting, headache, vomiting, rashes, respiratory issues, etc.

Due to all these reasons, it is advisable to give the body proper time to heal and recover. This can take up to 2 weeks but, this time may vary from case to case. It depends a lot on the patient’s medical history, the procedure the patient went through, and a large number of factors as well.


It is always advisable to consult about the medication and diet from a doctor post-surgery. The medication recommended and alcohol can prove to be a fatal cocktail in some cases. Both of these are chemicals in their roots and hence can prove to be harmful.

It can also lead to a weakened immune response by the body, which can result in several infections. Swellings and prolonged bleeding are common occurrences as well.

Consuming alcohol post-surgery can cause a lot of complications. In some cases even lead to the death of the individual It is strongly recommended to wait up to 2 weeks before drinking alcohol. This may vary from person to person, the procedure went through, medical history, etc. Hence, following the doctor’s advice is the best course of action.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. By no means should anyone consume alcohol after surgery, this article makes the reasons very clear.

  2. The article goes to show how much of an impact alcohol has on the healing process after surgery.

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