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The Day of Surgery

What should I expect the day of surgery?

It is extremely important that you have followed all of the instructions that were given to you by your child's surgeon during the preoperative visit. Arriving at the wrong time or allowing your child to eat and drink after the prescribed times can cause delays in your child's surgery, or perhaps even postpone or cancel it.

It is recommended that you make arrangements for other siblings to be cared for at home. Your attention needs to be focused on your child having surgery.

Before coming to the hospital, remove any jewelry, such as, watches, necklaces, or earrings, that your child wears and leave them at home so they are not misplaced. Also, have your child remove nail polish so that the color of the nail beds can be observed during surgery and afterwards.

When at the hospital, you may expect the following to occur:

  • Your child will change into a hospital gown.

  • Your child will receive a hospital identification bracelet with his or her name, birth date, and hospital number on it.

  • Vital signs will be taken such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.

  • Many of the same questions you have answered before will be asked again. This is a safety measure to insure that all the information in your child's record is correct. You will be asked about allergies, medications, and if your child has been exposed to any contagious diseases.

  • An anesthesiologist will see your child to answer any questions and examine your child.

  • 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.

  • In most cases, your child's surgeon will see you to make sure your child is ready for the surgery.

As the parent, if your child has an allergy to medications or latex, make sure the staff places an allergy bracelet on him or her, and that the allergy is noted on the outside of the hospital chart.

When it is time for surgery, an operating room staff member will come to escort your child to the operating room. You may walk alongside your child up to the operating room hallway. This is where you will give hugs, kisses, and tell your child that you will wait for him or her close by and will see him or her soon. Your child's identity will be verified again and the patient chart will be checked to make sure all information is correct. You will be directed 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.

After surgery

After surgery, most children go to the recovery room (or post-anesthesia care unit) to allow the anesthesia to wear off. Depending on the type of surgery, your child may be discharged or may go to:

  • The hospital unit to recover for 24 hours or less.

  • The hospital unit to recover for a few days.

  • An intensive care unit to recover for a few hours or days, then to the hospital unit until time for discharge.

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