If your child has sustained an injury or has a condition that requires surgery, we know that it can cause anxiety and uncertainty. Our team of highly trained pediatric surgeons successfully performs thousands of surgical procedures on infants, children, adolescents and young adults each year.
Our pediatric surgeons have decades of combined experience and understand the challenges presented by the unique anatomy and physiology of infants, children and their developing bodies. Close cooperation with the patient's referring physician is maintained at all times, and open communication with the parents is encouraged. It is our goal to provide excellence in surgical treatment and compassionate care for children and their families in a supportive and healing environment.
No matter what surgery your child needs, we believe it's essential to prepare you and your child both physically and emotionally for this hospital experience. We'll provide you with the information you need to feel most prepared for the day of surgery.
The Same Day Surgery Unit permits children to undergo treatment for many pediatric surgery procedures without requiring an overnight stay in the hospital. This spares the child the trauma of hospitalization and permits rest and healing at home. An educational visit several days prior to the scheduled procedure allows you and your child to become familiar with the facility and to learn what to expect on the big day.
While in the hospital, parents are encouraged to be with their child as much as possible. One parent is almost always allowed to be present in the operating room while their child is going to sleep. After surgery, children are brought to the pediatric recovery room, and parents are able to visit with their children shortly after their arrival. After recovery from pediatric surgery, children are discharged and are almost always home by the afternoon.
If your child requires hospitalization overnight or longer, every effort is made to make them as comfortable as possible. One parent is encouraged to sleep in the hospital with the child. For those children from out of town or from foreign countries, we offer the convenience of the Ronald McDonald House, which is a home away from home, allowing families to stay within walking distance from the hospital at a minimal expense.
If your child seems ill with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or a runny nose on the day of surgery, please call your child’s surgeon’s office, as well as the Ambulatory Surgical Unit at (718) 470-3100. Also call if your child has been exposed to a contagious disease like chicken pox or strep throat.
If your child is not sick, arrive at the hospital one and a half to two hours before your scheduled surgery time. Have your child wear comfortable clothes or pajamas. Go to the room number you were given by the nurse in your presurgical phone call; you will check in and begin the admitting process.
Your child will receive a hospital gown and pair of socks, as well as an identification bracelet with their full name, birthday and medical identification number. Adults will also be given ID bracelets, which they will need in order to enter the recovery room. Please make sure to remove all jewelry. If your child wears hair bands, make sure they do not contain any metal.
What to bring
Please make sure to bring the following:
- Photo identification of parent/legal guardian
- Guardianship papers, if needed
- Health insurance card (If your insurance company requires preapproval or a second opinion, you are responsible for getting it. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, call your insurance company)
- Copies of all medical documents/forms that were requested by your child’s surgeon (even if you already faxed it to us)
Two adults are allowed to be with the child on the day of surgery, in both the waiting room before surgery as well as in the recovery room. One of the adults must be a parent or legal guardian. A legal guardian is someone who is, by law, responsible for the care and decisions that are made for a child. The adults will wait in the pediatric surgical waiting room in the lobby during the actual surgery. During this time, feel free to use the restroom, get a bite to eat or go for a walk. You will be paged if your surgeon needs to speak with you.
If other family members would like to be present for support, they may stay in the pediatric surgical waiting room. On the day of surgery, your child will need and benefit from your attention. We strongly encourage that you make prior arrangements for other siblings so you can focus on your child. Children under 18 years of age are not allowed in the recovery room.
The Ambulatory Surgical Unit (ASU)
In the ASU, a nurse will perform a full assessment of your child, including their temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, height and weight. If you are concerned about your child's level of anxiety about having surgery, please let the nurse know during this assessment. It may be appropriate for your child's anesthesiologist to offer an oral sedative before going to the operating room. The nurse can also make a referral to a child life specialist to help provide emotional support, as well as age and developmentally appropriate explanations of your hospital stay.
After the assessment, you will meet your child's surgeon, anesthesiologist and operating room nurse. You can ask any last minute questions you may have before your child's surgery.
Entering the operating room
Your child may walk or ride in a wagon to the operating room. They may also bring a special comfort item, like a small stuffed animal or pacifier.
Depending on your child’s age and medical status, one parent or guardian may go with the child and stay with them until they fall asleep. If your child is 12 months of age or younger, please speak with your anesthesiologist regarding the possibility of going to the operating room with your child. They will make the final decision.
For safety reasons, women who are pregnant are unable to accompany children into the operating room. If another family member is not present, one of the ASU nurses or child life specialists can accompany your child.
Presurgical Testing Program
Before your child’s surgery, they will have a presurgical evaluation with members of our Presurgical Testing Program. During the evaluation, our team will conduct a full review of the child’s medical history, do a physical examination, complete any necessary blood work and answer any questions you may have.
At this time, your child will also have a consultation with the pediatric anesthesiologist, if applicable. The anesthesiologist will review your child’s history and create an anesthesia care plan. They will often have younger children breathe their anesthesia through a mask to fall asleep for their surgery. Older children and adolescents will usually be given anesthesia through an intravenous catheter, also called an IV. Your child’s anesthesiologist will discuss what type of anesthesia they will receive and how they will receive it. Their decision is always based on what is safest for your child.
In addition, your child may also meet with one of our child life specialists. They’ll go over what to expect on the day of surgery using age-appropriate teaching methods and discussions, and they’ll encourage your child to ask questions and express their feelings about their upcoming surgery.
If you have any questions about presurgical testing, please call (718) 470-3937.
Day before surgery
The day before your child’s surgery, you will be contacted by a nurse to confirm your time of surgery, the time that you should arrive at the hospital, as well as the room number that you should go to first. Follow the eating and drinking guidelines put forth by your doctor.
Pack a bag for the hospital that includes all the essentials you will need, including your child’s favorite toy or comfort item. For younger children, it may be helpful to bring their favorite bottle or cup to encourage drinking after surgery.
When your child’s procedure is finished, their surgeon will come out to speak with you in the surgical family waiting room. Your child will go to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), also known as the recovery room, after surgery. This may take up to 15 to 30 minutes after your child’s surgeon comes out to speak with you. Soon after your child is moved into the recovery room, parents/guardians will be called in and are encouraged to sit at the bedside. Make sure to wear your ID bracelets to enter the recovery room.
The total amount of time spent in the recovery room will depend on your child’s surgery, age and how they wake up from the anesthesia. Before going home, they will need to be fully awake, drink four to six ounces of fluid and have the nurse evaluate their surgical site.
You will be given instructions that explain what care you will need to provide for your child and how to manage pain at home. The nurse will also remind you to make a follow-up appointment to see the surgeon after the operation. In the days following your child’s operation, a nurse will call to check in on you and your child.
If your child is being admitted to stay overnight in the hospital, they will be moved to an inpatient room after waking up in the recovery room, when a room is available. Your child will be cared for by the medical team on the inpatient unit. There is a doctor available 24/7 to handle your child’s post-surgery pain control.
There is a space for one parent/guardian to sleep at the bedside with their child. The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is also located directly next door and is a great resource for families traveling a long distance or who have a child who is admitted to the hospital for an extended period of time.
Download our coloring book to learn more about the surgical experience with your child. We encourage you to explore the book together so that you will have a better understanding of what to expect when you arrive.