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Alcohol, Drugs & Medication Management

Alcohol, recreational drugs and chronic pain medication (opioids) can affect your safety  during surgery, as well as pain levels and ability to recover well after surgery.  It is important to reduce or cease use of these substances at least 4 weeks before surgery. It is critical that you tell your doctor, surgeon and the anaesthetist of any non-prescription substances  for your safety!
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to:
  • Poor muscle function which can delay recovery

  • Delayed wound healing

  • Impaired balance and development of frailty contributing to falls, fractures and osteoporosis

Chronic opioid use:
  • Makes it more difficult to control your pain after surgery

  • Causes constipation

  • Makes you more likely to get pneumonia after surgery


Sometimes alcohol and opiate (strong pain killers) use can also hint at mental health problems which have not been diagnosed.

We recommend you talk to your GP well before surgery about reducing your use of alcohol, opioids and recreational drugs.
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