Log in »

Bowel Preparation for Esophageal Surgery

This information explains how to do a bowel preparation for your esophageal surgery.

Your surgery is scheduled on________________________________(date).  Your bowel must be clean and empty before your surgery. Your doctor will prescribe a clear liquid diet and a laxative to prepare your bowel. This resource describes the steps you must follow before your surgery. If you have any questions, please speak with your doctor or nurse.


You will need to buy the following at any pharmacy. You do not need a prescription.
  • 1 (10 ounce) bottle of magnesium citrate
  • 1 Fleet® Enema

2 Days Before Your Surgery:____________________________(date)

  • Start the clear liquid diet. Beginning with breakfast, you may only have items from the clear liquid diet menu described below.
  • To prevent dehydration and weakness you must be sure that you get enough liquid and calories. Please choose a variety of the items in the clear liquid diet menu. Drink at least 10 (8 ounce) servings of clear liquids in a 24 hour period. Have these clear liquids at your normal mealtimes and also between meals.

Clear liquid diet menu

Food Category

You May Have

You May NOT Have


  • Clear broth or bouillon
  • Clear consommé
  • Packaged broth

Any other soups

Sweets &

  • Gelatin
  • Flavored ices
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes
  • Honey
  • Hard candy

Any other sweets or desserts


  • Clear fruit juices (apple, cranberry, or grape)
  • Black coffee or tea
  • Soda (ginger ale, 7-Up®, Sprite®, cola)
  • Seltzer
  • Gatorade®
  • Plain water

Any others, including:

  • Nectars
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Juices with pulp
  • Alcoholic beverages

1 Day Before Your Surgery:____________________________(date)

  • At 2:00 pm, drink the bottle of magnesium citrate.
  • At 8:00 pm give yourself the Fleet® Enema.
  • Your rectum may feel sore during the bowel preparation. If so, it may be helpful to wipe with baby wipes instead of toilet paper.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. This includes water, hard candy and gum.