The Day of Orthopedic Surgery

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If your child is admitted on the same day as a procedure or operation, he or she may be scheduled for a preoperative clinic visit before the day of surgery. On the day of surgery, please plan to arrive at the admitting office an hour-and-a-half before the scheduled operating time. This will allow us sufficient time.

Where should we go on the morning of surgery?

On the morning of your child's surgery, he or she will return to the Pre-Op Clinic between one to one-and-a-half hours before the scheduled surgery. The nurse or nurse practitioner will recheck your child's temperature, heart rate, breathing and blood pressure and will ask when your child last ate and drank. Your child can then change into hospital pajamas, and both of you will be brought to the pre-op waiting area.

During surgery

While your child is in surgery, you may wait in the family waiting area. A surgical liaison nurse will keep you updated with reports from the operating room during the surgery. If you would like to leave the family waiting area, the liaison nurse can provide you with a pager, which allows you to be quickly reached within the hospital or surrounding area. You may also page the liaison nurse by dialing the page operator at ext. 5-6369 from inside Boston Children’s, or 617-355-6369 from outside the hospital.

Postoperative care

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Some patients will go directly to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from the operating room because of extensive or long surgeries, large blood loss, or medical needs such as respiratory, heart problems or diabetes. These patients may stay in the ICU one or more nights, based on their medical needs. If space is not available in the PACU or 10NW, other patients may also go to the ICU for recovery. Patients may have visitors in the ICU.

The Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

If your child does not need to go to the ICU after surgery, the liaison nurse will arrange for you to visit your child in the recovery area, also known as the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). The PACU is a 30-bed unit providing multidisciplinary care to patients in the postoperative/post-anesthetic period. A nurse will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and circulation.

  • A small face mask will be placed on your child to blow a cool mist of oxygen on his or her face until the child becomes completely alert. If your child experiences pain, the nurse will provide pain medicine through an intravenous (IV) line.
  • The IV and urinary catheter will still be in place. Soon after arriving in the PACU, an x-ray technician may take an x-ray.
  • Parents may visit in the PACU. After a stay of a few hours in the PACU, you will then be moved to the surgical inpatient area.

Next: Your Hospital Stay

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