Patient Information

Preparation for Surgery

Days Before and the Day of Surgery

If your child’s surgery is scheduled at Dell Children’s Medical Center please read how to prepare your child for surgery at Dell Children’s. Take the opportunity to view the pre-operative virtual tour to learn more about your child’s pending surgical experience. The link also provides information regarding instructions for the day before surgery, anesthesia and driving instructions to Dell Children’s Medical Center. If your child is having surgery at the Strictly Pediatrics Surgery Center, here is information about what to expect while they are a patient at the Surgery Center. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of healthcare to your child. Increasing communication and the involvement of parents as a part of the team makes the job of supporting children and families easier during times of a stressful healthcare experience.If you’re having surgery at North Austin Medical Center, click here for more information.

Pre-Operative Tours at Dell Children’s Medical Center

The Pre-operative Tour is a hands-on teaching program for children and their families who are scheduled for surgery or for a procedure with sedation at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

All families are encouraged to attend this program, which helps promote an understanding of surgery and medical procedures. Research has shown that preparing children can reduce stress and increase their ability to cope.

A Child Life Specialist will introduce the medical equipment children may see on the day of their surgery or procedure using age-appropriate language, sensory information, and will explain the sequence of events for surgery. The Child Life Specialist will then lead a tour of the waiting room, check-in area, operating room, and recovery room. (Touring these areas depends on the availability of these rooms.) Brothers and sisters are welcome to attend because a hospital visit can affect the whole family.

For tour dates and times and to make a reservation, please call the Surgery Child Life Specialist at 512-324-0146.

Suggestions for Parents to Consider Before Your Child Has a Planned Surgery or Hospitalization

  • Ask your physician and staff at the hospital questions so that you and your child will know what to expect.
  • Be Honest! Telling your child the truth about what will happen and how things will feel will let them know what to expect. Be sure to use simple explanations suitable for your child’s development.
  • Listen to your child’s questions and talk about them. If you don’t know the answer, write the question down to ask later.
  • Allow your child to explore with real or pretend medical equipment on stuffed animals or dolls before going to the hospital and when he/she comes home. This helps your child to express their feelings and feel more in control.
  • Read Curious George Goes to the Hospital or other stories about health care experiences.
  • Let your child pack special things to take to the hospital. He/she can pack pictures of your family, books, videos, toys, comfort items (stuffed animal, blanket, or pillow), schoolwork, or even favorite pajamas or clothes to wear home.

After Surgery

Basic Post Operative Instructions

  1. Keep the dressing clean and dry. If there is not a dressing, remember to keep the surgical site clean and dry as well. After surgery, between days five and seven, you may remove the outer dressing. Do not remove the small pieces of tape (steri-strips) under the outer dressing. These will fall off within 1-2 weeks.
  2. Some irritation, mild bruising, or swelling is normal for the first seven days after the surgical procedure. If the redness gets worse instead of better, please call the office.We recommend that your child try some clear fluids until it appears that he/she is not nauseated. You may gradually advance your child’s diet, but take care not to force him/her to eat or drink.
  3. Your child may shower or be given a sponge bath unless instructed by your surgeon. No swimming or tub baths are allowed until the seventh to tenth day after surgery.
  4. Please make sure that you understand the pain control measures provided for your child prior to discharge; it will make recovery at home easier. Do not give Tylenol and Tylenol with codeine at the same time, as that would result in a dangerous overdose of Tylenol.
  5. Activity is allowed as indicated by your surgeon and varies depending on the procedure.
  6. If your child develops constipation, we recommend that you discontinue codeine if possible and provide substances that often encourage a bowel movement (pear nectar, prune juice, grape juice, increase fluids). If these are unsuccessful an over the counter laxative or suppository may be useful.
  7. Call your doctor if:
    1. Temperature is 101.5 or higher
    2. Excessive bleeding, drainage, or spreading redness
    3. Unrelieved constipation after 2 days
    4. Persistent nausea or vomiting
  8. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child, please do not hesitate to call us at (512) 764-5673.

Resources for Patients

For additional information regarding our professional associations, resources, and partners, please see the links provided below.