What To Expect When Your Child Is Having Surgery

If your child has been scheduled for surgery, our caring team of pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses will help you and your child understand the process and be as prepared for the experience as possible.

Before Surgery

A nurse will call you before your child's surgery. During this call, the nurse will tell you what time to arrive and what you need to bring.  The nurse will also let you know at what time your child can no longer have any food or drink.  The nurse will answer any other last minute questions that you may have.

In addition, your nurse will do an assessment, asking general health questions about your child, his or her immunization status, and other routine questions.

The Day of Surgery

Please arrive for your child's surgery at least 90 minutes prior to the surgical time.  If your child has become ill overnight, please call the contact number of the preoperative area.

Remember that is important that your child's stomach is empty prior to surgery.  Follow the guidelines that were given to you during the preoperative screening call.  Otherwise, the surgery may have to be postponed.

A parent or legal guardian who is capable of signing consents on behalf of your child must be with the child before, during, and after the surgery.

Please limit the number of people that will be present during the preoperative period, especially young children who may make the waiting period more difficult.  For the safety and comfort of our young patients, children who are not having surgery will not be allowed in the preoperative area or the recovery room.

Check-In/Preoperative Evaluation

You and your child should arrive at the specified location and check in at the reception desk.  It is important to arrive on time for surgery.  You will be given an arrival time that is 90 minutes prior to the actual surgery time.  This time is used for processing your child's chart, preoperative evaluation, and discussions with medical teams.

You will then go to the waiting area.  You are welcome to bring toys and comfort items from home to use while waiting.  A nurse will meet you and take you and your child to an exam room.  There, your child will change into a hospital gown and receive an identification bracelet, which will be worn until your child is discharged to home.

The nurse will conduct a brief examination, including checking  your child's temperature and blood pressure, measuring height and weight, and listening to his or her heart through a stethoscope.

You and your child will meet with the anesthesiologist.  Please let the anesthesiologist know if anyone in your family has had reactions to anesthesia.  The anesthesiologist will discuss the way in which the anesthesia will be administered--either by breathing through a mask or intravenously.

Your surgeon will also come and speak with you and your child to answer any last minute questions you may have.

Going Into the Operating Room

In most cases, we encourage parents to accompany their child to the operating room doors.  Your child may take comfort items, such as stuffed animals or blankets, with them into the operating room.

Once your child has entered the operating room, you will return to the waiting area.

Following Surgery

After surgery, your child's surgeon will meet with  you to discuss the outcome of the surgery.  Soon after this discussion, your child will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) or Recovery Room. Up to two adults will be allowed in the PACU during the recovery period.  Depending on individual circumstances, a child may need to stay in PACU for several hours of observation.

Going Home or Staying Overnight

If your child is going home the same day of surgery, you will be able to stay with him or her in the PACU until he or she has recovered.  Once your child has recovered sufficiently from the anesthesia and can drink some liquids, he or she will be able to go home.

You will be given instructions about your child's diet, activities, and medications after surgery and any other care you may need to provide once your child is home.

If your child is staying in the hospital overnight after his or her surgery, click here to learn more.

Click here to view our surgery preparation book you can share with your child.