What to Expect
What to expect - You and your child need to be here a least an hour before the surgery time. This is so the nurses have enough time to get your child ready and answer all necessary questions. There are four steps to the process of your child's surgery: reception, pre-op, surgery, and recovery. If there is anything your child is scared/worried about this is the time to let us know. TMC staff and doctors are trained to work with children. If your child has an issue or concern we will do our best to help accommodate them.
Reception: Once you arrive to the 2nd floor of the Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower reception area, check your child in using the self check in kiosks. TMC volunteers will assist you with using the kiosk and make sure you are in the right place. A patient photo of your child will be taken and you will be given an identification number to begin processing your child's visit. There is a dedicated child waiting area complete with toys, TV, and video games to use while waiting. A TMC Patient Access staff member will call your child's identification number or name to complete the registration process and get your child ready to go to their dedicated pre-op room. Sometimes the nurse will talk to you at the desk before taking your child back to the pre-op room.
Pre-op: This is the room where the nurse will help get your child ready for surgery. They will check your child's height and weight, temperature, and will use a pulse ox (a clip with a light in it) to check your child's heart rate and oxygen level. The nurse will then have the child change into a hospital gown or "hospital pajamas." The nurse will then continue to ask you questions regarding your child, including any allergies or past medical history. In pre-op you will get to see your child's surgeon, as well as meet the child life specialist, anesthesiologist, and a nurse who will be in the OR with your child. Feel free to ask any last minute questions that you may have. Sometimes your child will receive medicine in pre-op to help them relax before going back to the OR. If your child is over 11 years old or over 100 pounds, an IV usually will be started in pre-op.
Surgery: After you have met everyone, then it will be time for your child to go to the operating room. Some parents ask if they can go back with their child; however that is something to discuss with the anesthesiologist. At TMC we ask that at least one parent stays in the lobby the entire time your child is in surgery. Younger children will fall asleep using an anesthesia mask so they will breathe in the medicine that will help them fall asleep. Your child is even able to pick a flavor for the mask (strawberry, watermelon, bubble gum or cherry). Older children will be given the medicine to fall asleep through the IV. Your child will be completely asleep during the whole surgery and will begin to wake up once the surgery is finished. The surgeon will then talk to you in the lobby. The Recovery nurse will get you to be with your child in recovery once they have woken up from anesthesia. Each child is unique as some take longer to wake up than others.
Recovery: Only parents are allowed in the recovery area, other children are not allowed. Please bring another adult if you bring other children. Once your child wakes up, the nurse will make sure your child is feeling ok and doing well. Your child will most likely have an IV when they wake up. The nurses will take the IV out and the monitors off, before your child goes home. Your child will also get to change back into his or her clothes. You will be given instructions on how to care for your child once they are home, so please pay careful attention. On the way home it can be helpful to have two adults present – one to drive and one to take care of your child on the way home.
Once you get your child home, be sure to follow your physician's instructions. Your physician will be able to tell you when your child can return to school or other regular activities. Expect your child to be in some pain. That is normal. Your instructions will include guidelines for helping your child with pain.
Tucson Medical Center
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