Your Child's Preoperative Appointment

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Your child has been scheduled for surgery. You’re likely feeling nervous and apprehensive. At UVA Health Children’s, we perform surgery every day. That means we’ve got the process down and are prepared for your questions and concerns. One of the most important steps before surgery is the preoperative appointment.

The preoperative appointment is an important part of a surgical procedure. This is when your surgical team will make sure they have up-to-date information on your child’s condition, talk to you about the procedure, and answer all of your questions.

Sometimes, in an emergency, the preoperative visit happens right before surgery. But usually, we’ll schedule them separately to help you emotionally prepare.

What You Should Bring

Having all the information needed helps the preoperative visit go smoothly. And it makes sure your surgical team has all the information they need.

  • Complete list of medications (including any supplements)
  • Family medical history
  • Your child (we do actually need to see them at this appointment)
  • Some way to take notes

Your medical records, including recent lab results, imaging, and doctor’s visits should all be in your MyChart, but if not, please bring a copy.

What To Expect at This Visit

Your provider will talk to you about the procedure itself and answer any questions you have. They’ll also do an exam of your child to see how they’re doing. Depending on the type of anesthesia they’ll be receiving, a doctor may look at their airway to make sure they have the right equipment on hand.

They’ll talk to you about instructions before surgery. This will include when your child needs to stop eating, any signs that surgery should be rescheduled, and how to prepare for recovery. They may talk to you about the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program. If your child is a candidate, this can help with speeding up recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions About Surgery

It’s normal to have questions when your child is preparing for surgery. Many parents feel scared and overwhelmed. Your doctor is there to answer any questions you have (as many times as you have them). Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

How long will we need to stay after surgery?

For minor outpatient procedures, patients can often go home the same day. Most procedures will require you to stay for a couple of days. Parents are welcome to stay with their children. If you have other children, there are places for families to stay close by.

Will my child need a blood transfusion?

It’s rare for a child to need a blood transfusion during surgery. But, just in case, we will ask for your consent in advance. This is to make sure there are no delays in an emergency and doesn’t mean that we think your child will need it.

Will my child be in pain afterwards?

Your provider will do their best to manage your child’s pain after surgery with medication. They’ll also recommend ways for you to manage their pain at home. It’s very important to follow these recommendations exactly.

How soon will my child be able to return to normal activities?

As part of the enhanced recovery after surgery protocols, we’ll help your child get up and moving as soon as possible. We’ll also give you recommendations for when to return to their normal routine.