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

Exact Answer: 4-6 hours

It’s a tale as old as time – as everyone says to drink plenty of water all the time. Proper hydration is an absolute necessity for your body. But when someone undergoes a process like surgery it’s important to remember certain do’s and don’t after surgery pertaining to water so that you can heal quickly and also make sure that you don’t suffer from any adverse side effects.



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Water is the most essential component of our body. Our brain is made of 74% water, our bones consist of nearly 22% of water and how can we forget the blood which comprises 83% water. But still, it’s not advised to drink water immediately after surgery.

After undergoing any surgery, your immune system is extremely weak and thus there’s an increasing chance of infection. It’s true that water helps your body to get rid of all the toxins, but for that to happen the body must come back to its normal state of homeostasis and the effects of anaesthesia given during the process of surgery must wear off. For this very purpose, the doctors don’t advise having water immediately after surgery.

But now the question arises- How long after surgery can one drink water? If you are curious to know, keep on reading this article until the very end to find the perfect answer to your query along with exact reasons as to why you must wait that long to drink water after surgery.

How Long After Surgery Can You Drink Water?

Given below is a table depicting the minimum waiting period to drink water after surgery in accordance with the types of anaesthesia given in the process of operation :

Type of anaesthesia given for surgeryNo. of hours to wait after surgery
to drink water
Local anaesthesia (given for minor surgeries)Water can be consumed immediately.
Regional anaesthesia eg. spinal anaesthesiaAfter 4-6 hours
General anaesthesiaAfter 12-20 hours

It’s truly essential to stay fully hydrated post-surgery in order to eliminate and flush out the surgical chemicals and toxins out of the body but there has to be a sufficient time gap after the surgery and between your first sip of water after the operation.

Most people are awake in the recovery room immediately after an operation but remain extremely groggy for a few hours afterwards. Your body takes a few hours to completely come out of the effect of anaesthesia and thus drinking water when the anaesthesia is still inside the body is never advised. Once sufficient time has passed, patients are free to consume fluids as and when they like. The question regarding how long to wait after surgery is quite subjective and depends on a variety of factors like severeness of the surgery, the power of the anaesthesia given and many other such factors. Thus, clarifying all such doubts with the doctor beforehand is suggested so as to be completely sure to avoid any mistakes in post-surgery recovery.

Why Must One Wait That Long To Drink Water After Surgery?

Post-anesthesia care after surgery of patients is important and demands utmost attention. Consumption of water must be withheld for a while for the safety of the patient’s health, to avoid him from vomiting, feeling nausea because of residual anaesthetics and its incomplete elimination from the body.

It’s imperative to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding when and how much water can be consumed post-surgery to ensure that you don’t turn a simple surgical procedure into a major medical crisis because of your negligence.

Patients who undergo general or regional anaesthesia for the surgery are not allowed to drink anything until and unless they have fully regained their consciousness for fear of accident inhalation of their drink. The muscles after surgery remain discoordinated and thus a time gap is necessary before anything is allowed to enter the body so that the effects of anaesthesia wear off and the patients return to their normal state of being.

Each surgery is performed differently and for different purposes. Thus the time duration of the intake of water from the time of surgery varies accordingly. It’s best to follow sincerely what your doctor advises as failing to do so might result in complications in the recovery process.


To ensure that there are no hurdles in your recovery, it’s very essential to follow all the necessary guidelines given before as well as after the surgery. Due to the induction of anaesthesia in the body, the patient may feel nauseated and would be at risk of vomiting. The muscle needs a little time to get relaxed and come to its normal state, hence remember to wait for a while after your surgery before eating anything and drinking even water.

Remember to stick to what your doctor tells you. Follow all the adequate measures prescribed religiously and take all the necessary precautions to ensure your speedy recovery.


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