Services at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center  

After Surgery


A Banner Thunderbird nurse will come out to update you on surgery and take you to your child following the surgery. Your surgeon or surgical nurse will explain how the surgery went.

As your child awakes from anesthesia, he or she may be disoriented and will likely cry.

Child Life Specialists advise staying close to your child at this time and letting them know verbally you are present.

If your child will be staying overnight, your child will be admitted to the hospital and you will be directed to the patient’s room.

If your child will be discharged, a surgical nurse should walk you through a discharge summary at the physician’s request. If your child will be on any medications, you should receive the prescriptions now. Do not hesitate to ask any questions.

Recovering from Surgery

It is important for your child to talk about and process their hospital experience. You can play doctor, read books, draw pictures and talk to your child about their surgery to help them process the event. This is a good way to learn about your child’s feelings and how much they know and understand.

Children waking up from anesthesia react in different ways. They may be disoriented, complacent or frightened. They may cry or try to talk to you. Crying is a common coping technique for children and for infants and toddlers, it is the primary way for them to communicate that they are distressed about something.


It is important to watch your child’s activity the day of the procedure. Your child should avoid strenuous activities such as running, biking, sports, etc. More relaxed activities are encouraged such as watching movies, playing board games, cards, listening to music, etc.  You should ask your doctor when your child is able to resume normal activity.

Food and Drink

Encourage clear liquids and light foods such as juices, popsicles, Sprite, soup, crackers, cereal, etc. Your child should progress throughout the day and begin to eat more solid foods.  If your child is required to drink fluids before going home, encourage them to drink by saying "You've done a great job today. Would you like to try a sip of water now?" You may also try drinking fluids with your child to encourage them

Pain, Irritability and Discomfort

Some children experience pain, irritability and discomfort following surgery. If recommended by your doctor, your child may be able to take some medicine to help with the pain. Caregivers can help by holding their child, rocking them, and provide verbal support and reassurance at this time. Check with your doctor about appropriate medication that can be given to help alleviate pain and irritability.

Anxiety and Behavior Changes

Some children may experience some behavior changes following surgery or a hospitalization. These changes (i.e. new fears, mood changes, sleeping patterns, clinginess) are temporary and can last up to two weeks. Things you can do to help are talking with your child about their concerns, provide them reassurance and support to help them feel, play doctor with them to help them process and communicate their feelings.

Infants, toddlers and preschoolers may be frightened because of their temporary separation from you. As soon as you are able, stay with your child. Offer support, reassurance, and praise in a soothing voice. 
Tell your child: "It's OK to cry. I understand this is hard," and "It hurts now, but it will start to feel better soon."


Caregivers should make sure they understand instructions and have the materials for what they may need for home care. Caregivers should ask when they are to follow up with the doctor. Caregivers should also ask who to contact if they have questions or concerns in the days following the procedure. When in doubt call your surgeon’s office for any questions, or problems.  

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
5555 W. Thunderbird Road
Glendale, AZ 85306
(602) 865-5555
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