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Tips to prepare yourself or your child for surgery

Even the simplest surgical procedure can seem overwhelming and scary. Whether the surgery is for yourself, a loved one or your child - the more you prepare ahead of time, the more you can focus on healing and recovery. Are you or a loved one scheduled for surgery soon? Read our tips to help you prepare.

New Anesthesiologist 2011

Preparing for surgery 

Understand your options: Do you need the surgery now or can it wait? Are there non-surgical options that should be explored first? Talk to your doctor - more than once if necessary - to make sure all of your questions are answered.

Follow instructions: Surgeries tend to be easier for people who are well-rested and in good health. In the days and weeks leading up to a surgery, be sure to eat well, get enough sleep and follow your doctor’s specific orders regarding medications and other activities. From the pre-surgery preparations through the recovery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders for optimal healing.


Be aware of complications: You and your doctor certainly don’t plan to have any issues during or after surgery but complications do happen. Make sure you discuss common complications for your specific surgery including how to recognize them and what to do if you experience them. Knowledge helps healing.

Don’t go through it alone: Bring a friend or family member to act as your advocate throughout the surgery process. At the hospital, you’re likely to be tired, groggy from anesthesia or even confused - having someone there with a clear head to ask questions and take notes can be a huge help.

When you are home after the surgery ask that friend or family member to check on you regularly to make sure the recovery process is going as smoothly as possible. Bring them to follow up appointments so they can continue to take notes and understand the doctor’s instructions for your recovery. Help through the recovery process is important so that you don’t do too much too soon and so that you follow post-surgery instructions properly.

Preparing your child for surgery 

While all of the above tips hold true for patients of any age, there are some extra things you can do to help your child get ready for surgery.

Tour the hospital: Talk to your doctor about walking through the hospital and the specific area in which the surgery will take place. Walking through the lobby, going up the elevator, through the appropriate waiting room and meeting some of the staff can help your child be more comfortable on the day of surgery.


Answer the "whys" and "hows": Children are experts at asking questions! You don’t have to be a surgical expert but a little research can go a long way. Learn what you can about the basics of your child’s procedure:

  • what to expect from the surgery preparation
  • average surgery time
  • length of hospital stay
  • length of recovery
  • what to expect from pain and medications after surgery

Then share those answers with your child honestly in an age-appropriate way. Explain how anesthesia works and help your child understand that he won't feel the surgery. Give your child a chance to ask questions and share concerns so they don't worry as much.

Create a Get Well Box: Your child will likely have a few quiet recovery days ahead. Put together a box with things to beat the boredom and make him feel special. Ask friends and family to add pictures, letters and cards. Consider small toys, books, puzzles, coloring books etc. Make the box a surprise when your child is ready for it! It will be fun, help occupy his time and the love and support in that box will also help him have a stronger recovery.

Stay nearby: Your love, support and presence will play a huge role in your child’s recovery. Plan to spend as much time as possible by your child’s side. Snuggle under a blanket to watch a favorite movie; sit close together and read books; do a puzzle together; or simply give hugs and back rubs. Your time and presence can be just as helpful as medications and sleep.

Final tip: Select the right surgical team 

When you choose the surgical specialists at Logansport Memorial Hospital, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Our highly skilled surgical staff is comprised of caring physicians, anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses and technicians who dedicate themselves to your safety and comfort during procedures.


TOPICS: General surgery