Frequently Asked Questions About Surgery

Ease your mind with answers to these frequently asked questions from parents of children who receive surgery at N.C. Children’s Hospital or UNC Ambulatory Care Center.

Your Pediatric Surgery Team

Who is on my child’s surgical team?

In many cases, your child’s surgery will be performed by a board-certified pediatric surgeon—a general surgeon with advanced training in diagnosing, treating and managing the surgical needs of infants and children. Some surgeries are performed by other specialists; for example, heart surgeries are performed by pediatric cardiac surgeons.

The surgeon may be assisted or observed by resident physicians—licensed doctors (MDs) who are training to become specialists.

A board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist will administer your child’s anesthesia, and a member of the anesthesia care team will monitor him or her throughout the procedure and during recovery.

The team also includes certified pediatric nurse practitioners who are trained to care for children during surgery. Additional specialty-trained staff may be involved in your child’s care.

Before Surgery

How will I find out my child’s surgery time?

You’ll receive a call from a member of UNC Children’s operating room staff after 3 p.m. the day before surgery. During this call, you’ll learn: 

  • The scheduled time for your child’s surgery
  • What time you should arrive at the hospital
  • What time your child should stop eating or drinking

You can contact our surgery scheduler by calling 984-974-6108.

Will my child need blood tests before surgery?

Your physician will let you know if your child needs any special tests before surgery. Most healthy infants and children don’t require major pre-operative tests or bloodwork

What happens at the “pre-care” visit

During the “pre-care” visit, you’ll meet with your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and pre-op team to learn about your child’s procedure. If your child needs blood tests, they can be done during this visit.

Can I stay with my child while he or she waits for surgery?

Yes. You and your toddler or school-aged child will be together throughout the pre-operative period. In many cases, you may also accompany your child to the operating room and stay there until s/he receives anesthesia.

Will my child get an IV before surgery?

For most outpatient or same-day admission surgeries, the IV will be started after anesthesia has made your child fall asleep.

After Surgery

How will I know how my child’s surgery went?

After the operation, your child’s surgeon will find you in the waiting room to discuss your child’s surgery.

Can I stay with my child if he or she needs to stay in the hospital overnight?

Yes. N.C. Children’s Hospital is set up to allow you and another parent to stay in the room with your child. Explore our patients and visitors section to learn more about hospital features and amenities.

Whom do I call if I have questions after my child returns home?

A pediatric surgeon is available 24/7 to answer your questions. Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call our office at 919-966-4643. After 5 p.m., or on the weekends, call our answering service at 984-974-0506.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a physician’s referral for surgical care at UNC. For more information, talk to your doctor, or call us at 919-966-4220.

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