Preparing your child for surgery
Good preparation can help kids feel less anxious about the anesthesia and surgery and get through the recovery period faster. But, like parents everywhere, you're probably uncertain about the best way to prepare your child.
Take a Surgery Tour
View our tours and share them with your child so you both know what to expect before you arrive.
On the day of surgery, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the patient for surgery at Nationwide Children’s Main Campus Surgery Center.
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is the use of medicine to prevent the feeling of pain during surgery. There are two types of anesthesia. “General” anesthesia keeps a person completely unconscious (or “asleep”) during the surgery. They will have no memory of the surgery. “Local” anesthesia numbs only a small part of the body, the surgical site. Nationwide Children’s staff specializes in giving anesthesia to children. They will choose the safest anesthetic for your child.
Can I be present during my child’s sedation/anesthesia?
No. In most cases, parents may not be in the operating room at any time.
Who gives it?
All general anesthetics are given by members of the Department of Anesthesia.
The anesthesia staff consists of doctors specializing in anesthesia for children (anesthesiologists) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists under the direct supervision of the anesthesiologists.
Will I be able to talk with an anesthesiologist?
Yes. An anesthesiologist will review the preoperative assessment with you prior to surgery, discussing the anesthesia and answering questions.
Where does my child wake up?
Your child will recover in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Nurses trained in this phase of recovery provide specialized care. An anesthesiologist is always available should problems arise. Our goal is to have your child back with you as soon as possible.
Can I speak to the doctor after surgery?
The surgeon will speak with you after surgery. The nurses will answer any questions and give you step-by-step verbal and written instructions, as ordered by your surgeon.
Will my child be nauseated after surgery? What other problems can I expect?
A small percentage of children will be nauseated or vomit after surgery. Children having eye surgery or tonsillectomies are more likely to have this problem. If a breathing tube was inserted, your child may have a sore throat or hoarseness for a few days. Intravenous lines (IVs) are placed in almost all children after anesthesia is given. There may be a puncture mark or bruise at the site. In the event of any problem after you arrive home, please call your surgeon’s office, which is listed with your surgery discharge papers. You will be given written discharge instructions that include telephone numbers.