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How Should I Prepare My Child For Surgery?
Your child may feel anxious coming to the hospital for an operation. To reduce some of this anxiety, your child needs to be told in a sensitive, truthful and clear manner that he is coming to hospital and the reason why. Use simple words and only explain what the child can understand.
Try to avoid telling him too soon before the date of admission. The time frame depends on the age of your child.
Younger children, under the age of 5, should be told 2 - 3 days before admission and again on the morning of admission. Children under 10 should be told 4 - 7 days before admission. Older children can cope with a longer time frame.
This gives enough time for the child to think about the admission and ask any questions. Try and answer his questions openly and honestly.
If you have a toy doctor set at home or stories about going to hospital, play or read these with your child beforehand. Let your child help you pack or prepare for the admission and choose a favourite teddy, toy or book to bring with him.
What Should He Do The Night Before?
It is best if he gets plenty of rest before surgery. Ensure he bathes and washes his hair so that he will feel better when recovering. Follow the advice on fasting strictly because serious complications may occur even with small amounts of food or water in his stomach at induction of anaesthesia. For example, if his last feed is allowed at 3.00 am, wake him to give the drink, then do not let him consume anything else after that.
What Should I Bring?
- The documents listed in the day surgery brochure
- Your child's health booklet
- A list of his current medication (if any)
- A favourite toy or book
- Extra underwear or diapers, comfortable clothes
- His pacifier, an empty bottle or sippy cup ( if he uses one)
- Milk powder, snacks for AFTER the procedure
- A pillow, blanket or towel for the car
On the Day of Surgery
Can I Accompany My Child Into The Operating Theatre?
One parent is allowed to accompany him. After he is anaesthetised, you will be escorted to the waiting area at the reception while the surgery takes place. We advise you not to bring other children along as there is no appropriate place for them to wait as they are not allowed into the day surgery reception play area.
When Will I See My Child After Surgery?
Different children will take different times to recover from anaesthesia. Generally you will be allowed to see him at the recovery area about 30 - 45 minutes after the surgery.
What Can I Expect When I See Him?
He may be sleepy, confused or fretful when he awakes. Sometimes he may vomit and occasionally he may complain of pain. The anaesthetists will be able to give him medicine to treat this. He will have an intravenous (i.v.) canula that will remain in until he is ready to be discharged.
When Can He Be Discharged?
He can be discharged once he is:
- Alert enough to walk
- Able to consume fluids
- Is able to pass urine (for herniotomy and circumcision operations)
The doctor will review your child before he is discharged.
How Long Will We Spend In The Day Surgery Centre?
Be prepared to spend around 5 - 6 hours altogether at the Day Surgery Centre.
The whole "day surgery procedure" involves at least an hour for the anaesthetic cream (EMLA) on the hand to work before surgery and 4 - 5 hours after surgery for the child to recover fully. At peak periods, such as school holidays, it may take longer as we try to accommodate more children.
What Activities Will My Child Be Allowed To Do After Surgery?
You will be given specific instructions depending on the type of surgery. Generally it is advisable to avoid playground activities and if surgery involves the groin, straddling toys or cycling. Supervised walking and climbing stairs are generally allowed. Showering is usually allowed except in some operations, whereby you will be given specific instructions.
What Dietary Restrictions Must We Follow After Surgery?
Unless otherwise specified, for most day surgery operations, your child can have his normal diet when he goes home.
When Can My Child Go Back To School?
You will be given a medical certificate telling you when he can go back to school.
What Should I Do If There Are Any Problems?
You will be given an appointment to see your doctor at the outpatient clinic. In the meantime, if you have concerns regarding wound care, you may contact:
- During office hours
Tel: +65 6394 1689 (Day Surgery Recovery)
Tel: +65 6394 2087 (Specialist Outpatient Clinic K)
- After office hours
Seek treatment at the Children's Emergency