Guide to Surgery

Inpatient Surgery

Surgery for anyone can be scary, especially for children. That’s why we strive to make you and your child’s experience as comfortable and secure as possible. Our inpatient surgeries take place at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in North Central Florida. The hospital’s décor is designed to be warm and inviting for kids with a colorful, aquatic theme. To help distract children (and parents) from their illness, each pediatric floor has a playroom.

Below you will find an outline of things to do or not do before, during and after your child’s surgery. Should you have additional questions, please never hesitate to call us at (352) 265-8800.

PCICU RoomThe Day Before Surgery

All patients must be “NPO” – no food or liquids, not even water – after midnight on the evening prior to surgery, except infants under one year of age, who should be awakened and offered Gatorade or Pedilayte between midnight and 2:00 a.m. so that they do not become dehydrated. Sometimes a different, individualized will be created by your surgeon.

Please be sure to notify the pediatric surgery office immediately should your child develop a fever or cold or be exposed to a contagious disease such as chicken pox or measles. If surgery needs to be postponed or cancelled, please call as early as possible, as the time schedule for your child might be utilized by another child needing care. The telephone number is (352) 265-8800.

The Day of Surgery

On the day of surgery, you must report to the ambulatory preoperative waiting area, next to admissions, on the first floor of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

You should arrive at 7:00 a.m. if your child is the first operation listed for that day and no later than 7:30 a.m. for all other cases. Even though your child’s operation may have been tentatively scheduled for a time later than 8:00 a.m., last minute changes are frequent because of unforeseen events (other patients developing fevers or colds), often making earlier start times feasible for patients who are immediately available.

You and your child will be escorted upstairs to the second-floor operating suite.

Once your child has been taken into the operating room, you should go to the surgical waiting area on the first floor of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, where your surgeon will contact you by telephone at the completion of the procedure.

If your child is going home and needs medication, you will receive it in the post-op holding area.

In the event of any difficulty, you should first attempt to reach your physician at (352) 265-8800, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours, your call will be taken by a representative of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital message center.

After Surgery

The first postoperative appointment will be given during discharge. If you need to change the date and/or time of this appointment, please call (352) 265-8800.

Outpatient Surgery

Most of our outpatient surgeries take place at the UF Health Children's Surgical Center. The surgeons and anesthesiologists are the same at both units, the nurses and staff are pediatric-specific, and the décor is designed to be warm and inviting for kids. The center is 17,500-square-foot facility, which is connected to the UF Health Florida Surgical Center. It's nature-themed design echoes the design of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. There are separate preoperative, postanesthesia care and postoperative recovery areas, offering both efficiency and easy accessibility for patients and their families. To help ease nerves before surgery, we can provide iPads to patient if requested. This may be helpful in calming your child’s nerves, as well as passing the time.