Questions Your Child Might Ask About Surgery

Pediatric Surgery

Why do I have to stop eating before surgery?

It is safest to use anesthesia when the stomach is empty. If the stomach is full, a child can become sick and throw up. If the surgery involves the stomach or intestines, it is even more important to stop eating several hours before surgery. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. As soon as the surgery is done, your child will be able to eat and drink again.

Is it OK to be scared?

It is completely normal to be nervous about surgery. Many children have never had surgery or spent time in the hospital, and the unfamiliarity can be a little scary. Your child may be quieter than usual or may want to stay close to you before the surgery. Your reassurance and comfort will help calm their anxiety. Your child may receive medication prior to surgery to relieve anxiety and to help him or her stay calm.

Does falling asleep hurt?

Not at all. Our anesthesiology team has special training in providing anesthesia to children. For most children anesthesia is induced (administered by mask), so your child will breathe in the medication until falling asleep. If your child is young, you can say that the doctors will use special medicine for a nap.

Will I wake up during surgery?

No. Our anesthesiologists know how to provide the right amount of the right medication to keep your child asleep during the entire procedure. Your child won't remember the surgery. Some children feel groggy afterward because of the anesthesia medication.

Will it hurt when I wake up after surgery?

Our doctors and nurses will give pain medication as needed so that waking up is as pain-free as possible. Because young children may not say what they're feeling and because you know your child best, our team will work with you to manage your child's pain during recovery.

Can my family stay with me?

Yes, parents can spend the night in the hospital. Siblings and other family can visit. Ask a nurse for details.