How Long NPO After Bowel Resection (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12-24 hours

The abbreviation NPO means nothing by mouth. It is a method applied on patients about to get a bowel resection. A bowel resection is a procedure that removes a portion of the intestine. The small intestine, large intestine, and rectum are all included. It is used by doctors to treat illnesses and obstructions of the large intestine. When your doctor advises you to fast for a medical imaging scan, it means you won’t be able to eat or drink for a certain amount of time until the exam. Your doctor may tell you to do this for a variety of reasons. Similarly, the explanation for the quick and how long it lasts varies from case to case. We are going to discuss NPO after bowel resection. 

How Long NPO After Bowel Resection

How Long NPO After Bowel Resection? 

Bowel ResectionTime
Surgery Time2 to 4 hours
Recovery Time2 to 4 weeks

You may be advised to follow a strict diet before the surgery to help relieve your pain, and you should drink lots of fluids (eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily). Any drugs you’re taking, including over-the-counter supplements, should be disclosed to your doctor. Before surgery, you must be free of such drugs. Before the treatment, the colon must be properly cleaned. This is referred to as a “bowel prep.”

This may be done at home or in the hospital, depending on the doctor’s instructions. Enemas or laxatives, as well as a clear liquid diet, are all options for washing. You will be instructed to drink only clear liquids for 12 to 24 hours before your surgery. Upon midnight the day before your procedure, take nothing by mouth (“NPO”). Water and chewing gum are examples of this. Your stomach must be empty before the procedure.

For at least 4 to 8 days, you will be admitted to the hospital. Throughout your stay, you’ll be closely monitored to ensure that you’re recovering properly and that your colon has re-started functioning. You’ll advance to a soft diet in a day or two if you tolerate the liquid diet without nausea or increased abdominal pain or you will be given NPO treatment after your bowel resection. Depending on your recovery you can stick to the soft diet for a few weeks. 

Why Does It Take This Long For NPO After Bowel Resection? 

The acronym is a medical abbreviation for some time during which you are not allowed to eat or drink something (ask about prescription medication). Before an action or inspection, it is standard practice to quick. It’s ordered for CT scans that use iodine-based intravenous contrast or for medical imaging exams that require sedation.

NPO is prescribed as a precautionary measure. You may get nauseous if you don’t have it because you have something in your stomach when contrast or sedation is given. This may result in aspiration, which means that the contents of your stomach can enter your lungs. Aspiration can cause pneumonia and other serious health problems. For children and adults undergoing such types of sedation or comparison, abstaining from eating or drinking is advised to prevent possible safety issues.

NPO begins an hour before the exam for certain tests and procedures. Others can begin as early as the night before the test, at midnight. Depending on the exam you are taking, you will be given special instructions for NPO by the doctor or the hospital authority. Following your NPO instructions as closely as possible is the most important thing you can do to plan for your medical imaging test, treatment, or procedure. This will keep you healthy throughout the process, and it will also remove the need for any research delays or repeats.


So, you might have understood all the concepts of NPO. NPO may begin as early as an hour before an exam, or as late as midnight the night before. It completely depends upon the treatment or test that you are about to get. Food NPO intervals are longer than liquid NPO periods, as the American Board of Anesthesiology warns against liquid NPO periods of more than eight hours. If you have any other questions or concerns about not eating or drinking before your test or other aspects of your exam guidelines you should consult with your healthcare provider. 


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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.


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