• Pediatric Surgery

    Our team of surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists and nurses partner with you and your child every step of the way. At AAMC, your child gets expert, compassionate care from our pediatric surgery team. You can rest easy knowing each team member is specially trained to care for and address complex health issues in infants, children and adolescents.

    Read these tips to help best prepare for surgery day, and let us cover the rest.

    • Be ready for a call from our surgical prep team one to two days before surgery. They’ll ask you some questions about your child’s health and give you helpful instructions. You’ll also receive an automated phone call after 2 pm the day before surgery to confirm your time of arrival and location. (Monday procedures receive calls the Friday before).
    • Ask the surgeon if he/she will discharge your child to go home the day of surgery, or if your child will stay overnight in our pediatric unit.
    • Discuss procedures with your child to ease concerns or worries. If you haven’t already received it, ask for tips from the surgeon to prepare your child for the procedure.
    • Make arrangements for your other children on surgery day. We can only allow two adults in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) after surgery. For safety reasons, we cannot allow any other children in the unit.
    • Talk to your child about common concerns that come up:
      • Anesthesia: Explain that the anesthesiologist is a doctor who will make sure your child doesn’t feel anything during the procedure and will wake your child up when the procedure is done.
      • IVs: If you child is under the age of 8, they will be given sleeping gas. After they’re asleep, the nurse will start their IV. If your child is 8 years or older, a nurse may use an IV before the child goes into surgery. While this is the standard, we can discuss special exceptions.
      • Pain: Encourage your child to choose coping techniques used in the past. It may help to develop a plan to use when your child feels pain (deep breathing, squeezing an object or hand, using imagination to “go” somewhere else, listening to music, and using TV or video game as distractions).
      • If you have specific questions about other concerns, please talk to your doctor.
    • Download our ‘Preparing for Your Procedure Guide’
    • Schedule a pre-op tour for a guided trip through all the different areas your child will encounter, like a real operating room.
    • Prepare yourself and your child for their surgery by watching this fun, inside view of what will happen on your child’s day of surgery:

    • On the day of surgery, you may stay with your child until the surgery begins, and rejoin him or her as soon as it’s safe.
    • Please plan on being with your child throughout the day. You or another legal guardian must be available for your child at all times. If you are not available for the entire hospital stay, please tell a nurse who you have chosen to take your child home.
    • When it’s time to go home, we recommend two adults be present, one to drive and one to care for the child.

  • What to Expect From Your Child Before Surgery 

  • What to expect: Your child may be fussier than normal due to feeling hungry and not having anything to eat or drink. Your nurse or doctor will let you know when your infant can eat again after the procedure. Please bring formula or milk with you. If you are nursing, speak with your doctor for how to handle feedings the day of surgery and during recovery.

    How to help:

    • Use sensory stimulation to soothe.
    • Bring a favorite blanket or stuffed animal.
    • Talk in a calming voice.
    • Hold or rock your child.

    What to expect: Your child may become irritable and uncooperative due to feeling hungry and not having anything to eat or drink. While children may strongly assert their independence at this age, they still fear separation from their caretakers.  
    How to help:

    • Talk to your child about the procedure one or two days prior.
    • Use simple words to explain what will happen (“The doctor is going to fix ____ body part.”).
    • When possible, let your child make some choices. Choices could include what items to bring from home, which arm to use when getting a blood pressure and what to eat after the procedure.
    • Bring a favorite item from home (blanket, stuffed animal or toy).
    • Keep food and drink out of sight. Toys and activities can distract toddlers as long as they don’t see any food or drink.

     

    What to expect: It’s common for children in this age group to have fears about their upcoming hospital experience. Just like adults, children may have some fear and anxiety. Talk to your pediatrician for the best way to address your child about their anxiety. 

    How to help:

    • Talk to your child about the procedure two or three days prior to give him or her enough time to process the information.
    • Use simple words that your child knows to explain what body part the doctor will fix.
    • Encourage your child to ask questions and express feelings. Open-ended questions such as, “Tell me about the procedure you are going to have,” are a great way to discover and clarify any misconceptions.
    • Keep food and drink out of sight. Toys and activities can often distract preschoolers as long as they don’t see any food or drink.
    • Allow your child to bring a favorite item from home (blanket, stuffed animal or toy).
    • Be patient. It’s not uncommon for preschoolers to regress during a hospital visit. Temporary behaviors like wetting the bed or thumb sucking may arise.

     

    What to expect: In addition to being hungry your child may express fear, anxiety and concern of bodily harm. While your child may have a better understanding of what is happening, he or she may still experience fears and misconceptions of bodily harm.  
    How to help:

    • Talk to your child about the procedure one or two weeks prior.
    • Use language your child understands while being honest and realistic.
    • Schedule a pre-op tour for you and your child. The more prepared you and your child feel, the less anxiety you’ll both have on the day of the procedure.
    • Ask open-ended questions to address fears and concerns (“How do you feel about going to the hospital?”), and give chances for your child to express feelings.
    • Allow your child to pack a bag for the day with comfort items like a stuffed animal, blanket, music or games.
    • Focus on the positive, like how much better your child will feel after the procedure.

     

    What to expect: Adolescents like to be active participants in deciding what happens to them. They’re often hesitant to admit that they do not understand explanations. Parents and healthcare team may need to explain the treatment plan in different ways, without making the teen feel uncomfortable. Parents need to act as partners with their teens in making health care decisions.
    How to help:

    • Offer opportunities for your child to be involved in surgery questions and decisions.
    • Ask open-ended questions to address fears and concerns (“How do you feel about going to the hospital?”), and give chances for your child to express feelings. Answer questions honestly.
    • Teens may find it helpful to write down thoughts and feelings in a special notebook or journal.
    • Schedule a pre-op tour for you and your child. The more prepared you and your child feel, the less anxiety you’ll both have on the day of the procedure.