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 and things not to do before, during and after your child’s surgery. Should you have additional questions, please never hesitate to call us at 352.265.8800, and we can be reached 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.

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 children under 12 years of age (minimum fasting times listed below). Examples of clear liquids include water, juice with no pulp, clear tea, carbonated beverages and Pedialyte. Volume of ingested amount should be limited as much as possible. Sometimes a different, individualized fasting plan will be created by your surgeon. If unsure, please contact our office.

Children under 12 years of age, minimum fasting times:

  • Clear liquids – 2 hours prior to arrival time
  • Breastmilk – 4 hours prior to arrival time
  • Infant formula – 6 hours prior to arrival time
  • Solid foods – at least 8 hours prior to arrival time, no food after midnight prior to surgery

Please be sure to notify the pediatric surgery office immediately should your child develop a fever or cold, or if they’re 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 scheduled 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 will receive a phone call the night before the scheduled procedure from the OR team to confirm your arrival time. If you do not receive a call the night before surgery (by 6 p.m.) please call 352.265.0023.

Please note that the schedule is always subject to change. Even though your child’s operation may have been tentatively scheduled for a time later than 8 a.m., last minute changes are frequent because of unforeseen events (such as other patients developing fevers or colds, overnight emergencies, etc.), with the consequence that earlier start times are more feasible for those patients that are immediately available.

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

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, along with specific discharge instructions.

After Surgery

The first postoperative appointment will be given during discharge, along with specific discharge instructions and any wound care recommendations. If you need to change the date and/or time of this appointment, please call 352.265.8800. If your child requires a safety seat while riding in a vehicle, please begin planning now to have one available at the time of discharge.

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 a 17,500-square-foot facility, which is connected to the UF Health Florida Surgical Center. Its nature-themed design echoes the design of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. There are separate, pediatric-specific preoperative, post-anesthesia care and post-operative recovery areas, offering both efficiency and easy accessibility for patients and their families.

To help ease nerves before surgery, we can provide iPads to patients if requested. This may be helpful in calming your child’s nerves, as well as passing the time.

The day before surgery, instructions as mentioned above remain the same for both locations. However, the outpatient Children’s Surgical Center has a different contact number: 352.733.0065, should you need to call and confirm your arrival time.