Pediatric Surgery

The words “Your child needs surgery” can strike fear in any parent’s heart. When your child is sick or hurt and surgery is the best treatment option, you want the best that medicine has to offer — including highly skilled doctors and surgeons who understand kids, know how to help them get better and provide caring, compassionate care. Banner Children’s offers all of those.

What Pediatric Surgical Services Are Available at Banner Children’s?

Our pediatric surgeons provide a wide array of surgical services for children ranging from premature newborns to 18-year-old adolescents. From routine outpatient surgeries to more complex inpatient procedures, our highly-trained surgeons are experienced in surgeries of every kind and are dedicated to providing the best surgical care possible in a family-friendly manner.

We want your child to get better as quickly, and with as little pain and discomfort, as possible. That’s why our surgeons use both minimally invasive surgical procedures and robot-assisted surgery when they can. These types of surgeries only require tiny incisions, which mean less pain, faster recovery time and a shorter hospital stay, which will let your child get home and return to regular activities faster.

Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery

Besides common minor and major surgeries like ear tubes, tonsillectomies and circumcisions, Banner Children’s performs plastic and craniofacial surgeries. From birth defects to trauma and burns, there are many pediatric conditions that can require plastic surgery.

When you choose Banner Children’s, you know your child is in good hands. Our dedicated pediatric plastic surgeons provide excellent care to kids of all ages, from newborns to adolescents. Our compassionate surgeons and staff can help with:

  • Birthmarks
  • Burns and burn reconstruction
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Congenital deformities of the ear, hand and breast
  • Congenital tumors of the head and neck
  • Craniofacial problems, including Treacher Collins syndrome, Apert syndrome and Pierre Robin sequence
  • Facial bone fractures and trauma
  • Hand trauma
  • Orbital problems
  • Reconstructive procedures and cosmetic surgery, such as otoplasty and rhinoplasty
  • Vascular anomalies

Who Is on My Child’s Surgical Care Team?

Our pediatric surgical team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, other pediatric specialists, nurses and child life specialists is dedicated to providing compassionate care to you and your child throughout the surgical process.

You’re an important part of the team, too, since no one knows your child like you do. Our team will work with you to ensure they are providing the complete care your child needs to get better.

How to Prepare for Pediatric Surgery

We know your child isn’t the only one who can feel anxious about surgery — you can too! Surgery can be an unfamiliar experience for parents and children alike.

We’re here to help your family feel as comfortable as possible and know what to expect before, during and after surgery. Our pediatric surgical team, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and staff members, is dedicated to providing support to you and your child throughout the surgical process.

Our child life specialists will also support your child every step of the way and can help to explain the surgical process in a way your they can understand.

We help take care of the details to get your child ready for surgery so your focus is where it should be — on your child.

Pre-Surgery Education for Your Child

Your child may be feeling scared or even just curious about their upcoming surgery. We’re here to support them with free educational opportunities about their procedure and the surgery process ahead of their operation. Our experts can help prepare your child for the procedure by explaining the surgery and what it’s like to be in the hospital in age-appropriate ways.

Before surgery, there may also be opportunities for your child to tour the pre-op area, watch a video about surgery and see certain medical supplies that will be used, such as an anesthesia mask. Ask your child life specialists for more information about your options for pre-surgery classes and the education opportunities available.

Talking to Your Child About Surgery

Your child picks up cues from you, so if you’re calm and confident, your child will be more relaxed too. Here are tips to help you talk to your child about surgery and ways to make their experience easier:

Infants & Toddlers (ages 0-2) – Toddlers understand time differently than adults. That’s why we suggest you tell your child about surgery only a few days before. We also recommend you bring a pacifier, favorite blanket, doll or stuffed animal to help comfort your child.

Preschoolers (ages 3-5) – Preschoolers are old enough to be curious about their surroundings and what’s happening, so you should tell your child about surgery a few days to a week in advance. Use words such as “fix” or “make it better” during your talk and answer any questions your child may have.

School-age (ages 6-10) – If your child is in grade school, you should tell them about surgery at least a week in advance and explain the process of what will happen the day of surgery. You can tell your child about the doctor who will make sure they will stay asleep during the surgery and will not feel pain. Let your child know the nurses and doctors want to answer any questions they have during pre-surgery visits.

Teens – Talk with and include your teen in the decision-making process from the beginning. We know it’s important for kids this age to maintain their independence and sense of control. We encourage them to ask their surgical team any questions they may have during the process.

What to Do Before Surgery

We’ll help you take care of the details necessary to prepare for your child’s procedure with our focus to make it as quick and easy as possible.

Registration - To save time on surgery day, register your child online to provide the necessary insurance and contact information. You can also register by phone, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please register as soon as the surgery is scheduled or at least 2 days before the procedure. Also, check with your insurance company to authorize your child’s procedure.

Pre-Admission Interview - A nurse will contact you at least 2 days before your child’s surgery to answer any questions, review your child’s health history and any medicines your child takes. Let the nurse know if your child has a cold, cough, fever, pink eye (conjunctivitis), chickenpox, measles or has recently been exposed to chickenpox or measles. We need to know before surgery to protect your child and other patients from highly-contagious illnesses.

The nurse will also need to know about guardianship issues, such as foster care or custody issues, so the correct legal guardian can sign the consent form.

Pre-Surgery Tests - Your child’s doctor may require blood work or x-rays before surgery. Tests must take place 72 hours before surgery, so schedule and complete them as soon as possible. If the test is done through a primary care physician and not your pediatric surgeon, please request a copy of the results be sent to the surgeon or bring a copy with you on the day of surgery.

Pre-Surgery Checklist

Use this checklist to help make your child’s surgery day less hectic and make it easier for you to focus on your child.

Before Surgery

  • Complete the pre-surgery admission interview. If a nurse hasn’t called you within 48 hours of your child’s surgery, call the hospital or surgery center.
  • If your child takes medications, talk to your doctor about how they should be taken before surgery.
  • Arrange childcare for other children while you’re at the hospital or surgery center.
  • Check with your insurance provider if you have questions about your co-payment or deductible.
  • Call your doctor if your child has symptoms of a cold, the flu, a rash or any other illness or infection.
  • Your child can’t bring jewelry or use make-up, nail polish or deodorant the day of surgery.

Your child’s doctor will also give you guidelines for what your child can eat or drink before surgery. Generally, your child should not have:

  • Food 8 hours before
  • Full liquids and milk 6 hours before
  • Breast milk (infants) 4 hours before
  • Clear liquids 2 hours before

What to Bring on Surgery Day

Our experienced team of surgical specialists has created a list of items you may want to bring with you on the day of surgery for you and your child’s comfort. These include:

  • Comfortable clothes for your child
  • A favorite toy or blanket
  • A special bottle or cup
  • Contact or glasses case if your child wears either
  • Personal music devices or hand-held video games
  • Medical charts or test results the surgeon doesn’t have
  • Your insurance card, photo ID and co-payment if you have one
  • Any medications your child is taking

What NOT To Bring

For your child’s safety, certain items are not allowed in the operating room. These include:

  • Nail polish
  • Cosmetics
  • Jewelry
  • Glasses/contacts

If your child wears glasses or contacts, please bring with you the proper storage containers to store with you during surgery.

What Happens After Pediatric Surgery

It’s not unusual for your child to be disoriented and cry when coming out of anesthesia. You’ll be there to help soothe your child.

If your child will stay overnight, you’ll go to your child’s room. When your child is discharged, either that day or after a hospital stay, a nurse will give you prescriptions for medications your child may need and go over the doctor’s instructions. Make sure you:

  • Have or know what materials or supplies you may need for your child at home.
  • Understand when your child can get back to normal activity, including activities such as running, biking and other sports.
  • Ask when you should schedule a follow-up appointment with the doctor.
  • Ask who to call if you have questions or concerns.

How Can Surgery Affect My Child?

Pain, irritability or discomfort is common after surgery. We encourage you to hold or rock your child to help soothe them. Your doctor may also recommend medication to help relieve pain and irritability.

Your child may develop new fears, have mood or sleep changes or be clingy. They’re temporary changes and may last up to 2 weeks. You can help your child process and communicate what he or she feels. Talk with them about the experience or play doctor. Our child life specialists can help too. We’ll talk with your child or give you ideas on other ways to bring reassurance.

We’re your partners every step of the way, ready to answer your questions or talk through any concerns you may have. We want to see your child acting their normal, healthy and happy self as much as you do!