Pre-Surgery Caffeine Detox

I just had some work done on my knee that required surgery. Part of the typical pre-surgery instructions are to have no food or fluids after midnight of the day before surgery.

This isn’t a big deal really if your surgery is in the morning, but mine was at 1 PM. I usually have at least one coffee beverage by this time.

Sure, I thought about being hungry, although I have no problem with not eating until later in the day. What I foolishly didn’t account for was that fluids include coffee. I recall in the past having major headaches as a result of caffeine detox, and as the time progressed without having my morning caffeine, I could feel the headache coming on. All in all, my headaches weren’t bad, but I should have been better prepared.

Snowman Latte Art
Snowman Latte Art

In Accelerated Detox, several methods are described to assist one with caffeine detox and I think they are pretty good overall. Yet this experience got me to thinking of another technique designed to avoid going into surgery with terrible caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Forced Fading

Forced coffee fading is in between cold turkey and coffee fading. In cold turkey detox, stop all consumption immediately. In the fading approach, you cut back your consumption by a half cup each day until you are to low levels. Forced fading is where you go as long as you can in the day without experiencing the terrible headaches, and then allow yourself one cup a that time. The next day, you go longer.

The benefit to this approach as it relates to pre-surgery detox is that you can tailor your plan to when your surgery is. In my case, I just needed to handle making it to 1 PM, but it could have been longer or shorter. As it relates to pre-surgery detox, the goal for me was to prepare my body to be without caffeine long enough that I wouldn’t be having terrible headaches going into surgery. Coming out of it, they allowed me to have caffeinated beverages.

Certainly, this technique could be used with a regular caffeine detox plan as well.

Do yourself a favor and plan to be able to deal with a lack of caffeine pre-op and if need be post-op. You’ll have plenty of other things to deal with at that time.


Accelerated Detox – A strategy to detox from coffee quickly.

The Decaf Diaries – An essay on moving to decaf coffee.

Ryan Jacobs

Ryan Jacobs lives in Columbus, OH and has been a long time contributor to INeedCoffee. He started roasting coffee in a West Bend Poppery II in Kokomo, IN in 1998 and currently uses a Behmor. He met his wife, Rebecca, in a Starbucks and has two girls, Katherine and Angela. Katherine already knows what a portafilter is and takes great pride in grinding coffee for him.

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