Day surgery instructions for children
Before surgery, eating and drinking are not allowed for certain periods of time. Follow these directions carefully to prepare your child for surgery. If your child eats or drinks after the indicated time, the surgery may be cancelled.
Note: No food or drink is allowed in Pre-Op areas.
- 8 hours before the surgery/procedure - stop eating solid foods, including: candy, gum, non-human milk (cow, soy, etc.), thickened formulas including commercial ones such as AR (which is added rice).
- 6 hours before surgery/procedure - stop drinking formula and fortified breast milk. Children over the age of 12 months must stop formula 8 hours before surgery/procedure.
- 4 hours before surgery/procedure - stop drinking breast milk.
- 2 hours before surgery/procedure - stop drinking clear liquids.
- G-tube formula feeding should be stopped by midnight. (Children under 1 year of age may continue G-tube formula feeding until 6 hours prior to the urgery/procedure).
- Clear liquids include: water, apple juice, Pedialyte. No carbonated beverages should be consumed during the 8 hour pre-surgery/procedure period.
Preparing your child for surgery
The Day Surgery staff can arrange an individual meeting with your family upon request.
For surgeries taking place in Boston, call 617-355-7921 to arrange.
For surgeries taking place at Boston Children's Hospital at Waltham, call 781-216-2100 to arrange.
Call your child's doctor or the appropriate Day surgery number if:
- your child has a cough, chest cold, sore or strep throat, nasal discharge (runny nose), conjunctivitis or has recently been exposed to the chicken pox;
- has any history of croup, pneumonia or mononucleosis (mono) within last six months; or
- has a history or family history of bleeding or frequent nosebleeds.
The day before surgery
BOSTON: A nurse will call you before 1 p.m. to confirm the time of surgery. The nurse will review information with you and answer any questions you may have. If you do not receive a call by 1 p.m. the day before the appointment, please call a member of the Day Surgery staff at 617-355-7921 between 1 and 5 p.m.
WALTHAM: A nurse will call you before 3 p.m. to confirm the time of surgery. The nurse will review information with you and answer any questions you may have. If you do not receive a call by 3 p.m. the day before the appointment, please call a member of the Day Surgery staff at 781-216-2100 between 3 and 5 p.m.
Your child must remove all jewelry (including navel or other body piercings), nail polish, acrylic nails and contact lenses before coming to the hospital. Please leave all valuables at home.
Consent for surgery
Surgery cannot take place unless consent forms are signed. A parent or legal guardian must sign consent forms for surgery for children under age 18. Patients 18 years or older can consent to their own care.
If a patient age 18 or older is unable to give consent for treatment and/or surgery, the legal guardian must sign. For example, those with mental retardation or developmental delays are often unable to give informed consent. If your child is 18 years or older and you are his or her legal guardian, please bring the legal documentation.
All female children age 12 and older will be tested for pregnancy.
What to bring the day of surgery
- Your child's insurance information, including authorization numbers.
- All of your child’s medication bottles, and/or pharmacy receipts, so medication doses can be verified.
- A written list of any questions you and your child may have.
- Your child's special blanket, stuffed animal or small toy.
- A CD player/iPod with headphones if your child is having local anesthesia. He or she may be able to use them.
- Two adults may be with your child in the Preoperative area and Recovery Room; however, please do not bring brothers or sisters, or additional people such as grandparents or friends.
- A copy of court papers regarding legal guardianship, if this applies:
- The phone number of the legal guardian or social worker if you are not the legal guardian.
Patients over 18 years of age who will receive anesthesia or sedation must be accompanied by a responsible adult. This adult must bring them home and stay with them overnight, or arrange to have a responsible adult stay with the patient overnight.
When you arrive at the hospital
Please arrive 90 minutes before the scheduled surgery time. This allows time to register, and perform any blood tests or other necessary assessments. If your child is scheduled for surgery at 7:30 a.m., please arrive at 6:15 a.m.
BOSTON: Allow extra time for parking. Children's Parking Garage is across the street from the Main Entrance. Valet parking is available at the front entrance of the hospital. Valet services begin at 6:15 a.m. Your parking ticket may be validated for a discount at the information desk in the Main Lobby.
Enter the building through the Main Lobby and go to the information desk. Tell the person at the desk that you, or your child, have an appointment for Day Surgery. You will be directed to either the Admitting Office for a blood test or to the Day Surgery Unit on Main 3.
WALTHAM: Parking is free and nearby to the entrance. Valet service is not available in Waltham.
A receptionist in the lobby will direct you to the Surgery Center on the third floor.
Leading up to surgery
You may stay with your child at all times before surgery. You may also be able to stay with your child during the start of anesthesia (also called Parent Present Induction). Your child's anesthesiologist will talk with you about this program. If you are pregnant, please tell the nurse or anesthesia provider.
Once your child is asleep in the operating room, someone will bring or direct you to the Family Waiting Room.
The surgery will take place as close to the scheduled time as possible. Sometimes emergencies may delay the surgery. Staff will keep you informed.
The surgeon will meet with you in the Family Waiting Room. The nurse will take you to your child's bedside when your child is settled in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (recovery room).
Most children stay in the recovery room for 30 minutes or up to two hours after surgery. Some stays are longer, depending on the surgery and the patient's diagnosis.
Your child's nurse will teach you what you need to know to care for your child at home, answer any questions you may have and give you written instructions. You may take your child home when he or she is ready and you have learned the care required.
Please make sure all transportation arrangements are made for discharge following surgery. Be aware that public transportation is not an option after receiving anesthesia or sedation.
The morning or afternoon after surgery, a Recovery Room nurse will call you to see how your child is doing.