How To Do Bowel Prep Before Your Surgery at MSK Kids

Time to Read: About 2 minutes

This information explains how to do bowel preparation (bowel prep) before your surgery at MSK Kids. Doing bowel prep helps clear stool (poop) from your body.

In this resource, the words “you” and “your” mean you or your child.

Bowel prep supplies

You can buy these at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

  • Polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX®) powder
  • Clear liquids that are not red, orange, or purple

Read the section “Get the MiraLAX mixture ready” to see how much you’ll need. Make sure to get enough clear liquids to have while you’re following a clear liquid diet.

Your healthcare provider will also give you a prescription for the medicines below. Make sure you have them before you start your bowel prep.

  • Metronidazole
  • Neomycin

Bowel prep instructions

Start your bowel prep the day before your surgery.

Get the MiraLAX mixture ready

Mix MiraLAX with a clear liquid in the morning the day before your surgery. Your care team will tell you how much MiraLAX powder and liquid to use.

Stir the mixture until the MiraLAX powder dissolves. Once the powder dissolves, you can put the mixture in the refrigerator.

Start following a clear liquid diet at noon (12 p.m.)

Start following a clear liquid diet at noon (12 p.m.) the day before your surgery.

A clear liquid diet includes only liquids you can see through. You can find examples in the “Clear liquid diet” table. Avoid clear liquids that are red, orange, or purple.

While you’re following a clear liquid diet:

  • Do not eat any solid foods.
  • Drink different types of clear liquids. Do not just drink water, coffee, and tea. This helps make sure you get enough calories and is an important part of your bowel prep.
  • Do not drink any liquids you cannot see through, such as milk or smoothies.
  • Do not drink sugar-free liquids unless you have diabetes and your healthcare provider tells you to.

Clear liquid diet

 OK to haveDo not have
  • Clear broth, bouillon, or consommé.
  • Anything with pieces of food or seasoning.
  • Gelatin, such as Jell-O®.
  • Flavored ice.
  • Hard candies, such as Life Savers®, lemon drops, and peppermints.
  • Anything red, orange, or purple.
  • All other sweets.
  • Clear fruit juices, such as lemonade, apple, white cranberry, and white grape juices.
  • Soda, such as ginger ale, 7UP®, Sprite®, and seltzer.
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade® and Powerade®.
  • Coffee without milk or creamer.
  • Tea without milk or creamer.
  • Water, including carbonated (fizzy) and flavored water.
  • Clear nutritional drinks, such as Boost® Breeze, Ensure Clear™, Pedialyte®, and Diabetishield®.
  • Anything red, orange, or purple
  • Juices with pulp.
  • Nectars.
  • Smoothies or shakes.
  • Milk, cream, and other dairy products.
  • Nut milks, plant milks, non-dairy creamers, and other dairy alternatives.
  • Drinks with alcohol.

Start drinking the MiraLAX mixture at 2 p.m.

Start drinking the MiraLAX mixture at the day before your surgery.

Drink the MiraLAX mixture over the next 3 to 4 hours. Aim to finish between and

The MiraLAX will make you have bowel movements often. Make sure you’re near a bathroom once you start taking it.

Having lots of bowel movements can irritate (bother) your anus (where your poop leaves your body). Putting petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or A & D® ointment on the skin around your anus after each bowel movement can help.

Take neomycin and metronidazole at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Take 1 dose of neomycin and 1 dose of metronidazole at the night before your surgery.

Take another dose of neomycin and another dose of metronidazole at the night before your surgery.

Last Updated

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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