Preparing for Your Child's Surgery

If your child is having a surgical procedure performed by one of our pediatric general surgeons, your family can choose to see a surgeon at the surgical center most convenient to you in one of our care network locations or at the Children's Hospital's Main Campus in Philadelphia.

Before your child’s surgery, our office will ask for demographic and insurance information and schedule a preoperative visit.

Your preoperative visit

At your preoperative visit, one of our attending pediatric surgeons and a surgical advanced practice nurse will examine your child and schedule a surgery date and a consultation with our pediatric anesthesiology team — all without an additional appointment.

During the pre-visit, we'll discuss individual anesthesia needs and pain management strategies, preoperative feeding instructions, and an overview of what to expect on the day of surgery depending on the type of procedure and your child's needs. We can also help arrange tours of the surgical unit and, if necessary, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Preparing your child for their procedure

The prospect of surgery and hospitalization can obviously be frightening and overwhelming for any child. As a parent, you're worried too, but remember that your child looks to you for reassurance.

Children cope better with surgery and recovery when they know what to expect before, during and after the day of surgery.

Our surgical advanced practice nurses will provide age-appropriate preparation for your child’s procedure. We also have child life specialists who can prepare your child for their specific surgical experience by explaining what will happen, and why, in terms your child will understand. If you’d like to arrange for support from a child life specialist, we encourage you to ask your care team.

Our patient education includes educational videos, as well as an opportunity for interactive play with dolls. Families will also receive written educational materials.

Additional information about surgery and anesthesia is available in CHOP's Guide to Your Child's Surgery. You can help your child by preparing them as best you can with age-appropriate information.

Pre-surgery instructions

Your child’s care team will provide specific instructions for your child’s procedure, including information about anesthesia and rules for eating and drinking before the procedure. It is important to follow those instructions closely and ask your child's medical team if you have any questions.

Your hospital stay

If your child’s procedure is taking place at our Main Campus in Philadelphia, there are many services available to your family to make your time at the hospital more comfortable. Visit the Connelly Center, located on the eighth floor of the Main Building, to find our Family Learning Center, family library, children's library and a place to attend to business needs — as well as many home-like amenities, such as laundry facilities.

Before, during and after surgery, your child will receive the highest quality nursing care from an all-pediatric nursing staff. They will reinforce the preoperative education to make sure parents and caregivers are comfortable when it is time to take your child home.

Surgery Patient with Childlife Specialist

Why Choose Us for Your Child's Surgery

CHOP’s pediatric general surgeons are experts in the surgical and postoperative care of premature babies, neonates, children and adolescents.

Surgery Prep Family and Doctor

Surgery Guide

Learn about having surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, including what to bring, how to prepare your child, and more.