As you probably suspect, one of the biggest reasons why I went into Plastic Surgery is to become a sadist. Not only can I inflict pain with surgery, but I can also make my patients wake up at a painfully early hour to completely disrupt circadian rhythms and generate even more torment.
On a more serious note, the reason why surgery is scheduled so early in the morning is because we’re actually quite compassionate. Generally speaking, you will need to have an empty stomach for about 6-8 hours before your procedure. This ensures that your stomach is empty of any contents for general anesthesia. This way, if you get nauseated after surgery, you can try to throw up, but nothing will come out. With no stomach contents, you won’t accidentally swallow stuff into your windpipe, or lungs.
Aspiration pneumonia is a serious complication for any surgical procedure requiring sedation or general anesthesia. If you have dry heaves, as opposed to actual stuff or vomit in your stomach, then the changes of you having anything going into your lungs is much lower. As surgeons, we take this risk so seriously that we ask patients not to eat or drink 6-8 hours before any surgery requiring some sleep or sedation medicine.
If you have your operation at 730 AM, that means that you probably have had nothing to eat or drink- you’ve been sleeping at night. If we operated at 300 PM, then you would not be allowed to eat or drink after 700 – 900 AM, and you’d be wide awake during your entire fast. You would probably be grumpy and hypoglycemic, and you would not have the advantage of being asleep during this non-eating and drinking period.
So, be thankful for your early morning surgery start time!
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