Your Child's Preoperative Appointment

Before your child is scheduled for surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, you'll bring her in for a preoperative appointment. This is the time the surgeon and surgical team will review your child's medical history, any medications she's taking and any test results. Your child's surgeon will also give her a complete physical exam to check her current health.

This is a good time to have all your questions answered. In addition to questions about the surgery itself, the surgeon's office staff may also be able to answer your questions about insurance coverage and how to go about getting pre-approval for your child's operation.

What to bring with you

When your child comes for her first visit, please bring:

  • Her immunization records
  • Her insurance card, as well as any referrals she may need
  • Guardianship papers, if necessary
  • Consultation letters from other specialists your child may see
  • Current lab results
  • Copies of any X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans your child has already had
  • Her complete medical history (your child's doctor can send this in advance)
  • A list of all medications your child is taking, or has recently taken, including prescription and over-the-counter
  • A list of all allergies your child has (especially latex allergy)

What to expect at this visit

You and your child will meet with both the advanced practice nurse (APN) and the surgeon. After they examine your child and review her information, they'll discuss possible options with you.

If your child is able to proceed with surgery, the APN will complete the surgical and pre-anesthesia evaluation during your visit. You'll receive preoperative preparation instructions, as well as information about the surgery itself.

We'll let you know about any lab work, vaccines or medicines your child will need before surgery. Then, before you leave, you will be able to schedule the date for your child's surgery. (If you have special arrival needs, please let us know when you schedule the surgical date.)

Informed consent for surgery

After the surgeon has explained your child's surgery to you, she'll ask you to sign an informed consent form, which says that you understand the procedure, as well as all the risks and benefits it entails. In Pennsylvania, parental (or legal guardian) consent is required for any diagnostic or surgical procedure performed on a child under the age of 18. Learn more about informed consent for surgery >

Questions to ask about your child’s surgery

You are an important part of your child's healthcare team, and you'll want as much information as possible to help your child. Here are some of the questions you may want to ask. Feel free to print out this page and take it with you to your child's appointment.

  • Are there any alternative options to surgery?
  • What results do you expect?
  • What will the surgery accomplish?
  • What are the possible risks and complications?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • What type of anesthesia will my son or daughter need?
  • How long will my child have to stay in the hospital?
  • Will my child have any pain, and what kind of medicine will you give her for it?
  • Will my child require a blood transfusion?
  • What will the incision look like and will I need to change dressings? Will the surgery leave a scar?
  • Will my child require antibiotics or other medications after surgery?
  • What kind of care will he need after surgery (postoperative care)?
  • When can my child resume normal activities?
  • Does insurance typically cover this type of surgery?
  • Is there someone in your office who can help me with insurance issues?

Next Steps