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A Guide to Surgery

Children's Mercy is an American College of Surgeons Verified Center

Having surgery is a new experience for many kids. You can help your child feel prepared and comfortable before their surgery by watching the videos and reading the booklets on this page.

Our teaching materials are designed by Children's Mercy Child Life specialists, who prepare children for medical tests and procedures by using dolls, pictures, and words to help them understand their medical experiences. Child Life staff also provide age-appropriate activities and support for your child and family throughout your hospital stay.
 

 

Scheduling a pre-op teaching session


A pre-operative teaching session is an in-person visit to the hospital before your child's surgery to help them feel comfortable and familiar with what they will experience. If your child is scheduled for surgery and you are interested in talking with a Child Life specialist about the procedure or scheduling a preoperative teaching session, please contact the Child Life Department at one of the following locations:

Children's Mercy Adele Hall Campus
(816) 983-6870

Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas
(913) 696-8101

Teaching your child about surgery

The Child Life team has created age-appropriate teaching books to help you prepare your child for their experience at Children's Mercy.

For surgeries taking place at Children's Mercy Adele Hall Campus:

Surgery for ages 4-7

Surgery for ages 4-7 en Espanol

Surgery for ages 8+

Surgery for ages 8+ en Espanol

For surgeries taking place at Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas:

Surgery for ages 4-7

Surgery for ages 8+

A Patient's Guide to Surgery

We understand that surgery can be a scary experience for both children and families. By working hand-in-hand with you and your family, our doctors and nurses will make every effort to ensure your child's comfort during their stay. The following information was prepared to answer basic questions about getting ready for surgery.

View the guide

 

Ver la guía
See what to expect on the day of your surgery from a kid's perspective

Before surgery

A nurse will call with dates, times and instructions about when your child should stop eating and drinking before surgery. You should hear from the nurse at least two business days prior to your child's scheduled surgery. During that call, feel free to ask any questions or express concerns you have regarding the upcoming surgery or procedure.

If you have not received your instructions by 5 p.m. the day before your surgery, we may not have your current phone number. Please call (816) 234-3534 and we will be happy to assist you.

What are acceptable clear liquids?

Often, there is a period of time before surgery when your child can have only clear liquids. Acceptable clear liquids include:

  • Water
  • Apple juice
  • Sprite
  • Pedialyte
  • Jello with nothing added

Chicken broth and/or bouillon are not clear liquids. 

Bathing before the surgery


Below is an educational video for you to view about the importance of pre-op bathing.

Items to bring to the hospital

 

  • History and physical, X-rays and test results

  • Legal papers documenting patient's guardianship

  • A stuffed animal that can be with your child during their surgery or procedure

  • A pacifier, if a pacifier soothes your young child

  • Books or magazines to read while you are waiting

  • A list of child's medications and information about how much medicine your child takes and how often

  • A list of your questions for the nurses, doctors, and anesthesiologists

The day of surgery

 

  • You will check in your child and fill out needed paperwork upon your arrival to the Same Day Surgery area

  • A nurse will check your child's vitals, which includes height, weight, blood pressure, and temperature

  • You and your child will meet with an anesthesiologist

  • While your child is in surgery, you will wait in a parent waiting room

  • When your child's surgery is complete, your child will wake up in the recovery room. You will see your child when he/she moves to the post-op area or as he/she is transported to an inpatient room

Anesthesia and your child


At Children’s Mercy, a pediatric anesthesiologist is an active member of your child’s care team before, during and after their surgery or procedure. We administer anesthesia for more than 27,000 kids per year—that’s 74 per day—so our team is experienced at finding just-right doses of medication for kids of all sizes. 

During the procedure, your anesthesiologist will carefully monitor your child’s heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing. Afterwards, your anesthesiologist will make sure your child wakes up as comfortably as possible and continue to help with pain control.

Learn more about our expertise in anesthesia.

Contact the Surgery Team

Children's Mercy Adele Hall Campus
Same-day Surgery
(816) 234-3534

Pre-op Call Center (Surgery Clearinghouse)
(816) 855-1841

Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas
Same-day Surgery
(913) 696-8107
(816) 696-8000

Child Life Department
(816) 234-3757

Commonly Asked Questions

We often receive questions about upcoming procedures from families. See some of the most common questions from families and answers from our dedicated surgery nurses.