The Day of Surgery
What should I expect for my child the day
It's very important that you follow
all of the instructions that were given to you by your child's surgeon. Arriving at the
wrong time or letting your child eat and drink after the prescribed times can cause
delays in your child's surgery. It might even postpone or cancel it.
Make plans for other kids to be
cared for at home. Your attention needs to be on your child having surgery.
Before coming to the hospital,
remove your child's watch, necklace, earrings, and other jewelry. Leave them at home so
they are not lost. Also have your child remove nail polish so that the color of the nail
beds can be watched during and after surgery.
When at the hospital, you may expect the following to happen:
Your child will change into a hospital gown.
Your child will get a
hospital ID bracelet. It will have his or her name, birth date, and hospital
number on it.
Vital signs will be taken
such as heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Many of the same questions
you have answered before will be asked again. This is a safety measure to make
sure the information in your child's record is correct. You will be asked about
allergies and medicines, and if your child has been exposed to any contagious
diseases. The child's name and date of birth will be asked multiple times. This is
done to confirm and reconfirm the identity of the child and the procedure.
An anesthesiologist will see
your child to answer any questions. He or she will examine your child before the
A child life specialist will see your child to help prepare him or her for what to expect and to answer any questions your child may have.
Your child's surgeon will see
you to make sure your child is ready for the surgery. He or she will answer any
questions about the procedure and the recovery.
Tell the healthcare staff if your
child has an allergy to any foods, environmental factors, prescription or
over-the-counter medicines, or latex. Check that they place an allergy bracelet on your
child. Also be sure the allergy is noted on the outside of the hospital chart. Tell the
staff what your child is allergic to and the allergic reaction. Both should be noted in
the hospital chart.
When it's time for surgery, an
operating room staff member will escort your child to the operating room. You may walk
with your child up to the operating room hallway. This is where you will give hugs and
kisses, and tell your child that you will wait for them close by and will see them soon.
Your child's identity will be verified again. The patient chart will be checked one
final time to make sure all information is correct. You will be told where to wait while
your child is in surgery. When the surgery is over, the surgeon will speak with you and
let you know how the operation went. The recovery room nurses will typically bring the
parent in to see the child.
After surgery, most children go to
the recovery room or post-anesthesia care unit. There, the child will be watched while
the anesthesia wears off. Depending on the type of surgery, your child may be discharged
or may go to:
A hospital unit to recover
for 24 hours or less
A hospital unit to recover
for a few days
An intensive care unit (ICU)
to recover for a few hours or days, then to the hospital unit until time for