Preparing for surgery when you have diabetes

Before Surgery

Focus more on controlling your diabetes during the days to weeks before surgery.

Your anaesthetist will do a medical examination and talk to you about your health. Tell your anaesthetist about all the medicines you are taking.

If you take metformin, talk to your provider about stopping it. Sometimes, it should be stopped 48 hours before and 48 hours after surgery to decrease the risk of a problem called lactic acidosis.

If you take other types of diabetes drugs, follow your provider's instructions if you need to stop the drug before surgery. Medicines called SGLT2 inhibitors (gliflozins) can increase the risk of blood sugar problems related to surgery. Tell your provider if you are taking one of these medicines.

If you take insulin, ask your Endocrinologist or Anaesthetist what dose you should take the night before or the day of your surgery.

Some surgeons will cancel or delay surgery if your blood sugar is high when you arrive at the hospital for your surgery.

Surgery is riskier if you have diabetes complications so talk to your surgeon about your diabetes control and any complications you have from diabetes. Tell your surgeon about any problems you have with your heart, kidneys, or eyes, or if you have loss of feeling in your feet. The surgeon may run some tests to check the status of those problems.

After Surgery

You or your nurses should check your blood sugar often. You may have more trouble controlling your blood sugar because you:

  • Have trouble eating
  • Are vomiting
  • Are stressed after surgery
  • Are less active than usual
  • Have pain or discomfort
  • Are given medicines that increase your blood sugar