How you prepare

General anesthesia relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract and airway that keep food and acid from passing from your stomach into your lungs. Always follow your doctor's instructions about avoiding food and drink before surgery.

Fasting is usually necessary starting about six hours before your surgery. You may be able to drink clear fluids until a few hours prior.

Your doctor may tell you to take some of your regular medications with a small sip of water during your fasting time. Discuss your medications with your doctor.

You may need to avoid some medications, such as aspirin and some other over-the-counter blood thinners, for at least a week before your procedure. These medications may cause complications during surgery.

Some vitamins and herbal remedies, such as ginseng, garlic, Ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort, kava and others, may cause complications during surgery. Discuss the types of dietary supplements you take with your doctor before your surgery.

If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor about any changes to your medications during the fasting period. Usually you won't take oral diabetes medication the morning of your surgery. If you take insulin, your doctor may recommend a reduced dose.

If you have sleep apnea, discuss your condition with your doctor. The anesthesiologist or anesthetist will need to carefully monitor your breathing during and after your surgery.