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Our team wants to do everything possible to put your child — and you — at ease before surgery. At Vidant SurgiCenter, we take extra steps to help children prepare for surgery. While you’re here, your child can relax and play in a specially-designed pediatric play area. We also offer a family-friendly tour to give your child a chance to explore our center, meet our team and mentally prepare for the experience.

We encourage you to review the guidelines for your child’s surgery carefully. If certain instructions are overlooked, we may have to reschedule your procedure for safety reasons. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call our team at 252-847-7700. We’re here to help.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to prepare your child for surgery.

Step 1: Make a plan for surgery day.

We invite you and your child to visit SurgiCenter ahead of surgery day to get acquainted with our center and staff. We offer a special, child-centered class and tour to help prepare your child for surgery. For more information, visit our SurgiKids section.

Plan to be at SurgiCenter for the duration of your child’s procedure. Children under 18 need to have a parent or legal guardian present at all times. If you’re a legal guardian, we’ll ask you to provide documentation of guardianship on or before the day of surgery. If you have a young child, pack a bag with extra diapers, a change of clothing, favorite toys or blankets and a bottle of formula or juice.


Step 2: Tell us about health issues and medications.

To ensure your child’s safety, we need to know about any health issues and medications they’re taking. Please tell us if your child becomes sick in the days leading up to surgery (we may need to reschedule their surgery as a protective measure).

We ask that you bring your child’s regular medications to their surgery and tell us about any allergies. On the day of surgery, please don’t give your child any medications, including insulin, unless you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor. If your child takes heart, blood pressure or seizure medicines, talk to your doctor about which medicines may be given.


Step 3: Limit food and drink before surgery.

For his/her protection, we ask that your child does not eat anything after midnight before surgery. This includes mints, gum and candy. However, your child can have clear liquids up to two hours before your arrival time. This means liquids you can see through, such as Pedialyte, ginger ale or water. Infants may have formula up to five hours before arrival time or breast milk up to three hours before arrival time.


Step 4: Get ready for surgery day.

To protect your child against infection, bathe your child well before coming to the SurgiCenter. If surgical soap is recommended, follow the instructions provided by your health care team. You may use lotion on your child’s face but not on his/her body.

On the day of surgery, dress your child in warm, loose, comfortable clothing. Think about clothing that will be easy to put on after surgery (e.g., a button-up shirt for arm surgery or loose-fitting pants for foot surgery). Also, be sure to remove any nail polish, jewelry, piercings and metal hair accessories.

Be sure to tell us if your child wears a hearing aid, contact lenses or eyeglasses. If so, be sure to pack containers for these items and bring them with you to the SurgiCenter.


What to expect in the recovery room

Every child is different, but here’s what to prepare for when you see your child for the first time after surgery:

  • About 13% of children wake up from anesthesia with emergence delirium. While this is stressful and alarming for parents, it’s a normal and well-documented reaction in children after surgery. Your child may be incoherent, inconsolable or cry uncontrollably.
  • If your child shows signs of emergence delirium, stay calm. The effects of anesthesia will wear off soon. In the meantime, try to help your child relax. Keep your voice calm and soothing. Dim the lights. Offer your child a favorite toy or blanket.
  • If these steps don’t seem to help, talk to your nurse. There are medications that can help a child relax until the phase is over.