The medical world can be overwhelming. Sometimes you should eat to keep your strength up, and at other times you need to start on an empty stomach. How can patients keep track of all of these differences? Well, if you’re preparing for an ENT appointment in Buffalo, NY, here’s what you should know about eating before appointments.

ENT Exams:

ENT exams are non-invasive. The physician will feel behind the ears and along the neck and jawbones. He’ll take a look inside your nose and mouth as well with a small light.

In certain cases, he might perform a nasal endoscopy. An endoscope is a camera with a small light attached to the end of a long, thin tube. After using local anesthesia, the doctor will insert the tube into the nose to better examine the nasal cavity and sinuses.

If you’ve been experiencing hearing loss, ENTs can ask you to take a hearing test. In many cases, hearing loss may be due to a more innocuous cause, such as a buildup of ear wax. However, if the problem seems more severe, the physician may ask you to take a test, similarly to ones you may have taken in elementary school.

None of these procedures require you to be on an empty stomach though. So, if you’re preparing for an initial appointment, feel free to eat and drink normally.

CAT Scans:

A CT or CAT scan is an imaging process that’s more useful than X-rays but not as intensive as MRIs. The procedure takes no more than half an hour, and like with MRIs, the machine will provide 3D images. However, the machine is open, so you won’t feel claustrophobic.

CAT scans can help physicians better see the sinus cavities to plan for endoscopic surgery or evaluate chronic ear infections. Typically, CAT scans for the head and neck are done without contrast. However, in specific cases, you might be asked to get images with contrast.

During contrast procedures, you’ll either be asked to drink a special liquid or get an injection so the doctor can better examine soft tissues, blood vessels, and internal organs. If you’ve been asked to get a scan with contrast, you’ll need to fast up to 12 hours prior to the exam. However, this is fairly rare for ENT visits, so unless specifically asked to fast, plan to eat and drink normally.


Ultrasounds are typically given to pregnant women, but they can also be used to examine the head and neck for ENT-related issues. The machine essentially uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body. If you’ve been experiencing pain, an ENT may prescribe an ultrasound to look for tumors, growths, or abnormal thyroid activity.

When preparing for a head or neck ultrasound, you can eat and drink normally. You should also take any prescribed medications as you normally do.

Allergy Tests:

If you suspect that you might be suffering from an environmental allergy, the ENT will probably ask you to take either a skin or blood test to confirm your suspicions. Skin tests are simpler, and you’ll get results right away, so doctors prefer them.

However, medications can interfere with a skin test. If you can’t stop taking your medications for several days before the test, the doctor may ask you to get a blood test. In either case, because the test is analyzing immune responses, you won’t have to avoid eating or drinking.

Final Thoughts on Eating Before an ENT Appointment:

Unless you’re told otherwise, you should eat and drink normally before ENT appointments. However, if you’re concerned, call up your local Buffalo ENT office ahead of time to ask them any specific questions.