Bowel Preparation for Orthopaedic Surgery

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

It’s important that your bowel is clean and empty before your orthopaedic surgery. Follow the instructions below to do your bowel preparation.  

Purchase Supplies

Purchase the following supplies from any pharmacy. You don’t need a prescription.

  • 2 (10-ounce) bottles of magnesium citrate
  • 2 saline enemas, such as Fleet®
  • Clear liquids from the table below
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2 Days Before Your Surgery

You will need to follow a clear liquid diet for 2 days before your surgery. Examples of clear liquids are listed in the table below. During your bowel preparation:

  • Don’t eat any solid foods.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of liquids other than water, black coffee, and tea. Try to drink at least 1 (8-ounce) glass every hour while you’re awake.
  Drink Do Not Drink
  • Clear broth or bouillon
  • Clear consommé
  • Packaged vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
Any products with any particles of dried food or seasoning
  • Gelatin, such as Jell-O®
  • Flavored ices
  • Hard candies, such as Lifesavers®
All others
  • Clear fruit juices, such as white cranberry, white grape, apple
  • Soda, such as 7-Up®, Sprite®, ginger ale, seltzer, Gatorade®
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Juices with pulp
  • Nectars
  • Milk or cream
  • Alcoholic beverages

At 3:00 pm, 2 days before your surgery, drink 1 full bottle of magnesium citrate.

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The Day Before Your Surgery

  • Continue to follow the clear liquid diet.
  • In the morning, give yourself 1 saline enema. Follow the instructions on the package.
  • At 6:00 pm, drink 1 full bottle of magnesium citrate.
  • 1 hour before you go to bed, give yourself another saline enema.

do not eat or drink anything after midnight

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