How Long Can You Eat After a Surgery (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 to 2 Hours

The ever-advancing technology in every sector today with a significant technological boost and reforms has benefited the medical industry in the most excellent way possible.

With new types of medicines rolling out every day to numb the pain and eliminate the sense of despair. Medical science is not far from when we can expect painless surgeries and operations; today, most doctors use anesthesia to numb the pain and make the patient conscious not to feel any pain or wake up during the surgery.

Anesthesia can affect at what time the person can start consuming food after the surgery took place.

How Long Can You Eat After a Surgery

How Long Can You Eat After a Surgery?

Today major surgery is taking place by using anesthesia that is a drug that puts the person in a state of a profound sleep or, as described by medical science, “a state of temporary dead body.” Anesthesia numbs the body that helps the doctor to perform the surgery.

Anesthesia is put into the body by placing a large tube into the mouth till the stomach that even cuts the food pipe walls. Eating food after the surgery is depended on the type of surgery and the anesthesia doses.

As the tube placed in the mouth cuts the walls, it becomes challenging for the person to consume food as it irritates the food pipe’s inner lining. Moreover, it is advised not to eat after an hour of surgery as the body’s drugs can ruin the appetite.

But with ever-growing technology and advances made, giving anesthesia has been made easy and can even be injected into the body rather than placing a tube. The anesthesia is given in doses, with the mildest and the last being the strongest, the least the quantities. The early the effect will be replenished, and the earlier the person can start consuming food.

As anesthesia puts our body in a state of death, it fools the body. Organs slow down, the heart beats slower, the messages are carried and sensed late, the food digesting organs slow down, and suddenly eating food after surgery can load on the slow organs as the drugs are still in the body. As a result, it can lead to sudden vomiting and nausea.

Type of SurgeryTime Before Eating
Heart, Lungs and Chest3 to 4 Hours
Knee and foot1 to 2 hours
Stomach and Oesophagus4 hours
Liver and gallbladder2 to 3 hours

Why Does it Take So Long to Eat After Surgery?

Many factors are considered to start consuming food, and they are a type of surgery, dosage amount, age group.

Type of surgery plays a prominent role in after-food consumption. As surgery related to the upper body, that is, heart, stomach, lungs, chest, etc., can add up to the time of eating food as these organs are delicate after the surgery and food passes through the upper canal can irritate the organs and intense pain to the patient. But at the same time, surgery in the lower body doesn’t affect the eating canal.

The amount of dose that the body goes through is also an essential factor as the higher the dose amounts, the slower the organs become and can take a significant amount of time to get back to their normal condition. Still, as the doses are less, the organs pace back within a fraction of hours after surgery, and a person can eat afterward.

Age group, as surgery can take place at any age, anesthesia is given to all. Still, after the surgery, the children and the young adults get back to being normal as a young body has more strength to overcome the anesthesia effect. The body gets back to normal functioning, and the person can eat.

At the same time, the aged people might take a longer time to overcome the anesthesia effect that delays their body function and food consumption at the same time.

All factors played a prominent role. There are many other factors, but these are the dominating and prime factors.


With the advancing technology and medical science, operations and surgeries have become easy. At the same time, medical science is coming with new reforms and bringing solutions for every illness.

Anesthesia is a drug that puts the body in a state of consciousness and helps perform surgery. It plays a dominating role in consuming food after the surgery as the drug slows down the body and organs.

Not only this, but many other factors play a significant role like the number of doses or the anesthesia units, the age group as every person reacts differently to the drug, and most importantly, the type of surgery carried out.

After every surgery, an hour is a buffer time after the person can start eating again.




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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. The article provides valuable information about the reasons behind the time restrictions on eating post-surgery. Understanding these factors can help patients prepare for their recovery period more effectively.

    1. Absolutely, Joanne. It’s important for patients and their families to have a clear understanding of what to expect after surgery, especially when it comes to dietary restrictions and recovery times.

  2. This article sheds light on the crucial role that anesthesia plays in surgery and how it affects the body’s ability to consume food afterwards. The discussion of various factors like type of surgery, dosage amount, and age group is insightful.

    1. Great point. The details provided about the time required before eating after different surgeries are quite informative. It’s clear that there are multiple factors at play here.

    2. I totally agree. Anesthesia and its impact on the body are fascinating topics. It’s interesting to consider how different types of surgery or varying dosage amounts can affect post-surgery eating.

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