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Outpatient Surgery

At Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, we know all about helping children and their families through stressful times, including surgeries. Not only do we offer excellent medical and surgical care, we also take pride in helping you take care of the emotional needs of your child. Although we can help you reassure your child, we know that the truth is no one knows your son or daughter better than you. In fact, you play the most important role in preparing your child for this visit, and how well you do so will make a difference in his or her experience at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

View the pediatric outpatient handbook»

In the Weeks Before Surgery

Support for Patients and Families

Pediatric Day Surgery has a Child Life Specialist on staff who is trained to assist each child with the hospital experience as it relates to his or her educational, emotional and developmental needs. The Specialist is available to help you talk with your child about what to expect before, during and after surgery. If you would like to speak with a Child Life Specialist about how you can help your child with the Pediatric Day Surgery experience, please call the Child Life department at 713.704.2066. If your child has emotional and/or developmental special needs, please call one of our Anesthesia Clinic Nurses at (713) 704-3724 or (713) 704-3727 to complete an assessment form that will assist us in creating a plan of care based on your child’s individual needs.

Prior to the Day of Surgery

Prior to the day of your child’s surgery, you may need to complete the following steps:

  • Preregistration: We ask that patients pay their estimated financial portion, as determined by their insurance plan, prior to or at the time of service. If a member of our financial department has not contacted you prior to surgery, please call 713.704.6919 to obtain your balance.
  • Preadmission: Some doctors ask that you come to our Anesthesia Clinic prior to the date of surgery. In the clinic, your child will be seen by a nurse and an anesthesiologist, who will gather information about your child’s medical history. Any tests ordered by the physician can be done that day.

The Day Before Surgery

There are two things you should do the day before your child is scheduled for surgery. First, find out what time your child’s surgery will begin and what time you need to arrive. A nurse from Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital will call you the afternoon prior to surgery to give you instructions and the most up-to-date information regarding surgery and arrival times. Second, it is very important for your child to follow the food and beverage restrictions outlined below.

Surgery Times May Change

Please keep in mind that the scheduled surgery time is our best estimate. While not anticipated, your child’s surgery could be moved earlier or later on the schedule for many reasons. Thank you for being flexible and patient.

Food and Drink Restrictions

Your child may have a full meal up to eight hours before surgery; a light snack up to six hours before surgery, (see chart below for suggested items); breast milk up to four hours before surgery; and clear liquids up to one hour before surgery. Clear liquids are those you can see through, such as apple juice, water and Pedialyte.

The chart below summarizes these requirements. Because the surgery may be delayed, it is important to encourage your child to continue to take clear liquids up to two hours prior to the estimated start time.

Types of Food and BeverageAllowed Up To...
Full meal8 hours before surgery
Milk, yogurt, cereals, juices, pediatric or infant formulas6 hours before surgery
Breast milk4 hours before surgery
Clear liquids, such as water, Gatorade, Sprite, apple juice or Pedialyte1 hour before surgery

The Day of Surgery

Check-in

On the day of surgery, be sure to arrive at the Pediatric Day Surgery waiting room on the 2nd floor of the Jones Pavilion at your assigned time. Our staff will complete your registration and collect any amount due, if prior arrangements have not been made. Parents will need to present identification and insurance cards at the time of check-in. The parent(s) and patient will be issued an ID bracelet upon completion of check-in.

Initial Exam

After completing registration, your child will be seen by a nurse, who will check his or her vital signs and review the medical history. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist, who will discuss the plan for your child’s anesthesia. Your child will then be given privacy to change into a gown. Prior to leaving for the surgery, you will meet the operating room nurses. Your child may take along a favorite stuffed animal.

After Surgery

Parents will be able to see their child approximately 30 minutes after he or she has arrived in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU).

Please understand that siblings and other visitors younger than 13 years of age are not allowed in the PACU. They also should not be left unattended in the waiting room, so please make arrangements to have your other children supervised by an adult, if you bring them with you.

Going Home

When your child is ready to go home, we will give you supplies and instructions for his or her care at home.

Let Us Know

  • If your child has chicken pox or measles, or has recently been exposed to chicken pox or measles, we must know this before you come to the hospital for surgery. This information will help us protect other patients from these highly contagious illnesses.
  • If your child was born premature (less than 37 weeks gestation) and is younger than 8 months of age, he or she may require an overnight observation stay.
  • If you, or anyone in your household, has recently traveled internationally.

Other Reminders:

  • Make arrangements for siblings to stay with family or friends.
  • Bathe your child the evening before surgery.
  • Dress your child in comfortable clothes that are easy to remove.
  • Bring your insurance or Medicaid card and your driver’s license or photo I.D.
  • Bring a favorite clean stuffed animal to help your child relax. Put a clean pillow and clean blanket in the car for the ride home.
  • If your child prefers a special bottle or cup, bring it with you.
  • If your child requires a special diet or formula, bring these items with you.
  • If your child wears contact lenses, bring the case and solution to store them. The lenses must be removed before surgery.
  • Leave jewelry and other valuables at home. All jewelry must be removed before surgery.