Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Frequently Asked Pediatric Surgery Questions

Your child may go home the same day or need to spend a few days in the hospital after surgery. Your surgeon can help predict this at your pre op visit.

Your surgeon can give you an estimate of how long the surgery is expected to take, but keep in mind the actual time can be affected by other circumstances such as emergency cases occurring in the hospital, or an earlier surgery lasting longer than expected. If it seems that surgery is taking longer than you expected, please ask the receptionist at the surgical desk for an update.

It is very important that you notify your doctor immediately. These things happen, but since this may affect your child’s surgery time as well as the overall surgery schedule, we appreciate your prompt reporting.

Children are often given a medication before their surgery that makes them sleepy or relaxed while you are with them. Usually you can remain with your child until they are taken into the operating room where the anesthetic is administered.

It usually takes a few minutes for us to get your child settled into the recovery area. We will bring you to your child in recovery as soon as possible.

If your doctor has told you to plan to take your child home the same day, this is what you can expect:

  • Your child will be in the recovery room while they are waking up from anesthesia. Once they are settled in the room, we will call you back to be with them.
  • Your child’s comfort is important. While some discomfort is expected following surgery, we want to ensure that your child’s pain is well managed before sending them home.
  • If your child normally takes food or fluids by mouth, they need to be able to drink fluids prior to going home. Some children experience nausea from the anesthetic or just don’t want to drink while they are sleepy. We need to make sure your child is able to take fluids adequately before removing their IV.
  • Your child will be in the recovery room while they are waking up from anesthesia. Once they are stable they will be transferred to their bed on the inpatient unit.
  • Being prepared to help your child move about, take deep breaths and describe how they are feeling is very important.

Yes, we encourage you to stay with your child. There is an extra single bed in all of our patient rooms.

No, typically, rooms are assigned the day of surgery and you will be notified of your child’s room number while they are in recovery.

No, siblings may not spend the night. Please make other arrangements in advance.

We ask that you make childcare plans for other children the day of surgery. Your other children cannot accompany you to the recovery room and most siblings find the waiting difficult.

Cell phones may be used in the waiting room and other public places in the hospital, such as the cafeteria, lobby and play areas. Cell phones must be at least six feet away from medical equipment.

The receptionist in the waiting area can provide you with a map of places to purchase food.

Is eating allowed in the waiting room?

No, because there are children in the area who are waiting for their procedures and aren’t allowed to eat or drink. There are other locations around the hospital including the café, cafeteria or lobby where you can eat instead.

What should I bring with me?

Check our recommended list of what to bring to the hospital. Also, many people choose to invite a support person to wait with them during the procedure. Because our waiting area is small, we are not able to accommodate groups.