Abstinence (not drinking alcohol at all) for 3 - 8 weeks before surgery significantly reduces your risk of complications after surgery. 

  • Men & Women should not drink more than 14 units each week
  • If you drink more than 4 units a day you are 50% more likely to get a complication after your operation. 

If you think you may need some additional support with this, our Alcohol Specialist Nurse Service is here to help. Tel: 023 9228 6000 Ext 5403) 

Units of Alcohol:

  • 25ml of spirits = 1 unit
  • Alcopop (275ml) = 1.5 units
  • Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml ABV 5%) = 1.7 units
  • Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml ABV 5.5%) = 2 units
  • Standard glass of wine (175ml ABV 12%) = 2.1 units
  • Large glass of wine (250ml ABV 12%) = 3 units
  • Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%) = 2 units
  • Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2%) = 3 units


If you smoke please use this time before your surgery as an opportunity to cut down or, even better, stop smoking completely. As well as making you healthier in the long run, this will really cut down your risks of having a complication after surgery.


Although it is best to quit at least eight weeks before surgery, there are still benefits from quitting even 24 to 48 hours before your operation.  

After 8 hours – your blood oxygen levels return to normal

After 24 hours – carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body

You can get further help and advice from your GP