Health Information

The Child Having Surgery

  • Surgery and the Breastfeeding Infant

    If your baby needs surgery, you may feel helpless. But there’s something you can do to make the experience a little less traumatic: breastfeed. Not only is it comforting for your baby, but nursing will provide the most nutritious and easily digestible food for a healing body.

  • The Day of Surgery

    Before coming to the hospital, remove any watches, necklaces, or earrings that your child wears and leave them at home so they are not misplaced.

  • Home Page - The Child Having Surgery

    Detailed information on surgery in children

  • Types of Anesthesia

    During surgery, your child will be given some form of anesthesia—medicine given to relieve pain and sensation.

  • Intraoperative Care for Children

    Detailed information on intraoperative management

  • The Operating Room

    Your child will need to know that people in the operating room will be wearing surgical clothes to help prevent germs from infecting the surgical incision.

  • The Surgical Team for Children

    Most surgical teams include a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a nurse anesthetist, and an operating room nurse. The number of team members differs depending on the type of surgery performed.

  • Online Resources - The Child Having Surgery

    List of online resources to find additional information on surgery

  • Discomforts and Complications After a Child Has Surgery

    Common discomforts after surgery include nausea and vomiting, soreness in the throat, and restlessness or sleeplessness.

  • Postoperative Care

    Detailed information on postoperative management

  • Intensive Care

    Intensive care is needed for children who have had certain types of major surgery: heart operations, organ transplants, or neurosurgery.

  • Discharge from the Hospital

    Even after minor surgery, some children will remain in the hospital overnight for observation and to receive medicines to help with pain or to prevent infection.

  • Pain Control After Your Child's Surgery

    If your child has moderate to severe pain, he or she may receive narcotics during and after surgery. If your child is in the ICU after surgery, he or she may receive sedatives along with pain medicines.

  • Play Therapy

    Play therapy is used to help children understand and cope with illness, surgery, hospitalization, treatments, and procedures.

  • Recovery Room/Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

    Once surgery has been completed, your child will be brought to the recovery room, also called the post-anesthesia care unit.

  • Blood Transfusions in Children

    If your child's healthcare provider decides that your child needs blood or blood products, he or she will explain the reasons for the transfusion.

  • Hospital Visit/Preoperative Clinic

    Touring the hospital before surgery can help your child see the sights, sounds, and events he or she will experience the day of surgery. It is a nonthreatening, often reassuring, way to learn about the hospital.

  • Preoperative Management for Children

    Detailed information on preoperative management

  • Informed Consent

    You will be asked to sign an informed consent form. It states in detail that you understand the risks and benefits of your child's surgery.

  • Preoperative Visit with the Surgeon

    This is the time to ask questions: What are the expected results? What are the possible risks and complications? How long will the surgery take?

  • Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery

    Have your child explain back to you what is going to happen in the hospital. School-aged children sometimes will listen carefully, but not understand all that was said.

  • Preparing a Child for Surgery

    Detailed information on preparing the child having surgery

  • Preparing the Infant for Surgery

    It's important to keep your baby's routine the same before the day of surgery. Make sure you, your baby, and your family are well rested.

  • Preparing the Preschooler for Surgery

    One of the major fears preschoolers have is fear of the unknown. Tell your child about the surgery several days before the procedure and perhaps even visit the hospital for a tour.

  • Preparing Siblings for Surgery

    When your child goes to the hospital, brothers and sisters may feel afraid, worried, or confused. They are often afraid simply because they do not know what to expect, and they may imagine the worst.

  • Preparing the Teenager for Surgery

    Allow your teen to be part of the decision-making process. Encourage him or her to make a list of questions to ask the healthcare providers.

  • Preparing the Toddler for Surgery

    Read books to your toddler about going to the hospital. Keep any explanations simple and be careful of the words you use.

  • Topic Index - The Child Having Surgery

    Detailed information on surgery in children

  • Surgical Overview

    Detailed information on surgery in children

  • Types of Surgery for Children

    Surgery doesn't always mean large incisions. Minimally invasive surgery is often used today. This uses small cuts, and allows a child to recover faster and with less pain.

  • The Hospital Setting

    Many surgeries performed on children are done as an outpatient. With minor surgeries, your child will return to the outpatient surgery center after spending the required time in the recovery room.

  • Types of Surgery for Children

    Surgery can be classified as major or minor, depending on the seriousness of the illness, the parts of the body affected, the complexity of the operation, and the expected recovery time.

  • Latex Allergy

    Symptoms of latex allergy include watery or itchy eyes, wheezing, hives, flushing or a skin rash, itching, or swelling.