Getting ready for surgery Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin Surgicenter (110701)

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Children’s Wisconsin Surgicenter

Your child will be having surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Surgicenter. This information will help you get ready.  

Before surgery

A history and physical needs to be done within 30 days of your child’s surgery. It can be done at your child’s doctor’s office or the surgeon’s clinic. If the physical will not be done in the surgeon’s clinic, talk with the surgeon’s office staff about the details. 
Plan for the whole day
Plan how you will get to and from the Surgicenter. Have a backup plan. Ask family members or friends to help you with your other children. You will need to stay in the Surgicenter while your child is in surgery.
Only two adults can be with your child before and after surgery.
For more information about the Surgicenter or for an on line tour, visit our website at

Preparing for surgery

Call before surgery
A nurse will call you 1 to 3 days before your child’s surgery. The nurse will review your child’s health history, final instructions and any possible changes.  It is very important to follow these instructions. You need to know:
What time you need to be at the Surgicenter.  This will most likely be 1 to 2 hours before surgery.  It takes time for staff to get your child ready for surgery.
What medicines your child can take the day of surgery.
What your child can eat and drink the day before surgery.  
When your child has to stop eating and drinking.
In spite of our best efforts, sometimes surgery times need to be changed. We will do our very best to let you know when things need to change.

If you have not heard from a nurse by the day before surgery, call us at 414-328-5788.  Leave a message with your child’s name, date of surgery, and your phone number.  A nurse will call you back as soon as possible.

When to stop eating and drinking before surgery (NPO instructions)

It is very important that you follow these instructions. If your child eats or drinks after the time you are given, the food or drink could get into their lungs when they are given anesthesia. This is called aspiration.  It could be very dangerous. Your child’s procedure may be cancelled if NPO instructions are not followed.

Bath before surgery

Your child should have a bath before surgery. A bath helps keep bacteria from growing on the skin before surgery.
Your child may need to have a bath with special soap before surgery. If so, the surgeon and clinic staff will tell you how to do the bath and where to get the soap.  

What do I need to know for the day of surgery?

Call the surgeon’s office if your child has a cough, fever, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash in the area where surgery will be done.  
You will need to check in at the front desk to register.  You will be given an ID badge to wear and a patient ID bracelet to wear to match your child, while in the building.  This is for safety. 
What to bring:
Your photo ID.
List of your child’s current medicines. If your child uses an inhaler bring it with you.
Your pharmacy’s phone number. 
Your child’s favorite clean toy or blanket for comfort. 
Things to keep you comfortable while you wait, like a book or magazine.
Food for yourself.  Vending options are limited.

The staff that will take care of your child

Many staff members and specialists with different roles will care for your child.  They are specially trained in the care of children needing surgery.  These include doctors, called anesthesiologists, who give medicine to make your child sleep during the procedure.  You will meet them before the procedure.  
Staff will be wearing an ID badge.  Feel free to ask people their names and roles.
You will be able to wait in your child’s pre and post op room while they are in surgery.

After surgery

After surgery, your child will go to a recovery area.  Your child will stay there until the anesthesia starts to wear off and your child is comfortable.   The nurse will bring your child back to the pre and post op room to be with you as soon as possible.
Important things to know:  
Only 2 visitors can be in the recovery area with your child.
Your child may be more upset than usual as they wake up from surgery.  This is normal.

Your child’s comfort

We will make every effort to keep your child comfortable during their visit to the Surgicenter. We will help your child cope with discomfort by using relaxation techniques, sedatives or pain medicine. We will give you information on pain management choices. Please talk with your doctor or nurse about your child’s comfort.

Going home

Before you leave the Surgicenter, you will learn how to care for your child at home.  This includes:
Medicines. The reason your child is taking the medicine, the amount, how often, when it was last given and any side effects to watch for at home.
Dressing changes.  If needed, we will talk with you about wound care and supplies. 
Special diet and activity needs. 
Plans for delivery of any special equipment you will need at home. 

You will get copies of all teaching sheets and instructions. There will be phone numbers on your paperwork in case you have questions after you get home.

Children’s Wisconsin Surgicenter
3223 S. 103rd Street


Call your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic if you or your child have any concerns or your child has special health care needs not covered by this information.