Outpatient Surgery Guidelines, Child

These are general instructions for patients who will be going home the same day as the procedure (outpatient).


  • Allergies to food or medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes and kidney problems.


Your caregiver will discuss possible risks and complications with you before surgery. Common risks and complications include:

  • Problems due to anesthesia.

  • Blood loss and replacement (does not apply to minor surgical procedures).

  • Temporary increase in pain due to surgery.

  • Uncorrected pain or problems the surgery was meant to correct.

  • Infection.

  • New damage.


  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. Your child may take his or her usual medicine the morning of surgery with a sip of water unless instructed otherwise. Check with your caregiver if you are unsure.

  • Call your caregiver's office the morning prior to surgery if your child develops an illness or problem.

  • You should be present 60 minutes prior to the procedure or as directed.


After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery area where a nurse will monitor his or her progress. When your child is awake, stable, taking fluids well, and there are no complications, he or she will be allowed to go home. Healing will take some time. Your child will have tenderness at the surgical site and there may be some swelling and bruising. Your child may have some nausea. You should observe your child at all times for at least 24 hours following anesthesia.


  • Your child may resume a normal diet and activities as directed.

  • Change your child's bandages (dressings) as directed.

  • Only give over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Keep all appointments as scheduled and follow all instructions.

  • Ask questions if you do not understand something.


  • Your child has persistent dizziness or nausea.

  • Your child has trouble staying awake or you cannot wake your child.

  • Your child has difficulty breathing or develops a cough.

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Your child has increasing pain or tenderness near the surgical site.

  • Your child cannot eat or drink or starts to vomit.

  • Your child has constipation.