Preparing for a Surgery
It is quite natural for a parent to be anxious and concerned about the upcoming surgery of their child. Paediatric Surgeons spend a great deal of time during the consultation, explaining in detail about the child’s underlying surgical condition, the type of surgery that is required , and the outcomes of the particular procedure. Detailed diagrams of the required procedures are also drawn and reviewed at the clinic, therefore enabling parents and patients better understand their disease,and comprehend the operative procedure that has been planned.
Elective Surgery (Surgery that can be planned) is mostly scheduled according to the parents’ and patients’ convenience. This is to ensure minimum disruption to their work and school schedules and to help children recuperate better with their parents. Many of these operations are considered minor and can also be performed as Day surgical procedures– whereby the patients are admitted to the ward on the morning of their surgery and can return to their homes on the same day. This however applies only to those patients older than 6 months of age and those who live in the vicinity of the hospital, as well as children with no major associated illnesses.Younger children and those who come for their surgeries from afar will have to be admitted on the afternoon before their surgery.
All children’s surgeries are performed in the morning, and since most of these procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic they will require a period of 6 hours of fasting from solid foods and 2-4 hours from clear fluids prior to the operation. This will also vary depending on the Anaesthetist’s review and instructions.
Most often following minor surgery, the child may be fed when they are fully awake after the surgery, and they may also resume normal light activity soon after. Rough sport and strenuous activity should be avoided and patients will be duly advised during their follow up visits at the clinic depending on their progress.
For newborns, Toddlers and younger children the parents may choose to bring their own formula milk and baby products and clothing. However the hospital will also provide the same upon request for a certain charge. The wards are all parent friendly and for those children who are required to stay overnight, or for longer periods, we encourage parents to room in with the child. The double bedded and triple bedded rooms have space for one of the parents to room in with the child, while the single rooms are large, and can house both parents and siblings when appropriate.
The period of stay is obviously longer for children who have undergone more major procedures and for most children who have undergone certain reconstructive procedures like hypospadias surgery.
With minimally invasive surgery the hospital stay is considerably shorter and the patient’s recovery is much smoother and less painful.Pain relief for the children is our priority and every surgical procedure is accompanied by the infiltration of a local anaesthetic to keep the patient comfortable upon awakening from the operation. Adequate pain relief is also provided throughout the entire recovery period. For the major procedures Morphine infusions help keep the children comfortable during their recovery. Older children may be provided with Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) which is an infusion pump that administers the required amount of medication to control pain with effective lock out systems to prevent overdose. This permits the child to therefore remain pain free and less anxious therefore facilitating speedy recovery.
Emergency procedures require urgent attention and will almost always require the child to be admitted. The hospital stay will depend entirely on the underlying disease process and the condition of the child. Should you suspect that your child has fallen ill all of a sudden, or suspect that he may require an operation kindly keep them fasted till the doctor’s review.
Overall, children tolerate surgery very well and also recover speedily. With encouragement from the parents and nurses in the wards, and the Paediatric Surgeon, their surgery, hospital stay and recovery should be smooth. Crystal clear instructions are always provided during your consultation and should there be any further doubts the clinic is always contactable during office hours. The patients are reviewed once again on the day of admission or surgery, and any further queries may then be clarified once again.