Surgery Visits

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

To help you and your child adequately prepare for your surgery visit, please review the guidelines for preparing your child. By reviewing this section, you will learn what part of surgery may be most stressful for your child, the various ways to prepare your child—and his or her siblings—for the upcoming surgery, and the possible emotional reactions your child may express.

Pre-operative Tour

If your child has been scheduled for surgery, we recommend that you, your child, and siblings schedule a pre-operative tour to learn about the medical center in a friendly, non-threatening way.

During the tour, your child will meet our staff and become familiar with every area of the medical center that he or she will see from the moment you arrive on the day of surgery.

To schedule a pre-operative tour at any of our surgery locations, please call Child Life Services.

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 and 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. Valet parking service is available in front of Children’s Hospital. If your child has become ill overnight, please call the contact number of the preoperative area.

Remember that it is important that your child’s stomach is empty prior to surgery. Follow the guidelines that were given to you during the pre-operative 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 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 to 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 where there are toys and games. 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 then return to the play/waiting area. At some point, your surgeon will come and take you to a private area to speak with you and your child.

You and your child will also meet with the pediatric 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 (most common method) or intravenously.

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 the PACU for observation for several hours.

Going Home

If your child is going home the same day of surgery, you will be able to stay with him or her in the recovery room 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.