Post-Surgical Instructions-Diet

Before surgery and anesthesia, patients should eat a light and healthy meal before they are supposed to begin fasting prior to surgery. Patients should avoid heavy meals that take a long time to digest; for example, loading up on pizza and rich foods.

After general anesthetic or intravenous sedation, it is important to rehydrate. Patients may have a sore throat after surgery. Cold foods may make wounds and sore throats feel better. Dr. Maranon asks patients to start with ice chips, Jell-O, clear sports drinks (Gatorade) or clear carbonated beverages (7-Up, Ginger ale or Sprite). Popsicles can be cut off the stick and dissolved in the mouth. This may be helpful for sore throat and for some surgeries. It is important to drink from a glass or cup and not use a straw during the first 24 hours. Using a straw during the first 24 hours can dislodge blood clots from surgical sites and cause bleeding to continue. These drinks should be diluted initially with a little water to decrease the fizz and the sugar content.

If patients are tolerating these liquids well, they can advance to a full liquid diet such as ice cream, frozen yogurt or soups that are not too hot. The lips and the tongue may still be numb and can be burned by hot liquids or foods. If the patient tolerates the full liquid diet, they can start to advance their diet to a soft diet (pasta, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or eggs). Patients should try to chew away from the surgical sites.

Food intake can be limited for the first few days. Dehydration needs to be prevented by taking fluids regularly and increasing fluid intake. Patients should try not to miss meals. By maintaining nutrition, patients will feel better, have more strength and heal faster. After surgery, patients should resume a high-calorie, high-protein diet as soon as possible to help with healing. Several days after surgery, patients can start to return to a more normal diet. If there is persistent jaw stiffness, patients should continue with a soft diet and not chew gum until this condition resolves. Hard or crunchy foods that are difficult to eat like chips, popcorn, nuts, granola, salads or seeds (sesame, flax, sunflower) must be avoided until approved by Dr. Maranon. These foods can become lodged in surgical sites causing pain and infection.

Patients with special dietary issues like food intolerance, food allergies or medical conditions (diabetes) should discuss these conditions with Dr. Maranon at their consultation before their surgery.

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