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How does drinking alcohol at night affect a surgeon's skills the next day?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
In the Archives of Surgery, a paper was published that looked at the technical skills of surgeons the morning after a bender. A dinner with 10-26 drinks of alcohol, even followed by a good night's sleep, was enough to impair the surgeons the next day. Despite the fact that your surgeon might not have alcohol on his or her breath, and even with a normal breathalyzer test, more errors would be expected in the operating room.

Amazingly, when surgeons performed tasks at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and even 4 p.m. the day after drinking, they were still impaired! Alcohol doesn't have the short-term effects that many people think it has. Brain and liver function are altered for many hours, even days, after drinking heavily.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.