Preparing for Surgery

When your child needs surgery, it can be a stressful and emotional event for not only the patient, but for the whole family. It helps to know what to expect before, during and after surgery so you, your child and your family feel more prepared.

The surgery teams at Texas Children’s work to make your child’s surgery experience safe and as comfortable as possible. Below are videos and guides and a timeline to help you and your family learn what to expect when having surgery at Texas Children’s.  

Videos to Help Prepare for Your Child's Surgery

Preparing for Your Child's Surgery

What to Expect on the Day of Your Child's Surgery

Pre-Surgery Instruction Guide

The guides below are given to families in our clinics when a surgery may be planned. Families may also receive guide this by email.

Pre-Surgery Instruction Guide

Instrucciones Antes de la Cirguía

Resources for Kids

Download and print this worksheet to read with your child. It will let them know what to expect on the day of surgery. 

"I'm having surgery today!" English | Spanish

A Timeline to Prepare Your Child for Surgery

As a parent, you play a key role in helping your child prepare for surgery. Here are some simple, age-appropriate ways to educate your child about their surgery and help make it a positive experience. Learn more

In the weeks before surgery

In the weeks before your child's surgery, make sure all testing and clinic visits needed for surgery are complete. Many patients visit the PASS (Pediatric Anesthesia Screening Service) Clinic to make sure they are healthy enough for surgery.

Two business days before surgery

One to two days before surgery you will receive a phone call from Texas Children's informing you of your arrival time for surgery. This call could come anytime from 9 am to 3 pm. Please call your surgeon's office if you have questions or have not received a call by 3 pm, the day before your child's surgery.

The day before surgery

It is important to follow the correct eating and drinking instructions to prepare your child for surgery. Your child must have an empty stomach before receiving anesthesia to prevent choking or vomiting during the procedure. Clear liquids like water can be given until arrival time to help with hunger and hydration. If the proper eating and drinking instructions are not followed, your child's surgery may be delayed or canceled. 

Learn more

On the day of surgery

Surgeries are performed at all Texas Children's Hospital Locations. In the Texas Medical Center, operating rooms are located on: West Tower Level 3; Mark A. Wallace Tower Level 7, The Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower Level 8 and Level 20. At Texas Children's Hospital The Woodlands and Texas Children's West Campus, Surgery Reception and the operating rooms are on Level 3. 

On the day of surgery, make sure to arrive at the time given to you over the phone by your surgeon's office. When you arrive, check in at your Surgery Reception location.