After Your Child's Procedure: What to Expect

Recovery Room

The recovery room is an open room where your child will go immediately after surgery until he/she is ready to go to his/her room.

  • In the Recovery Room, a nurse will watch your child as he/she recovers from the surgery or procedure and anesthesia medicine.
  • Your child may be connected to monitors and receive oxygen.
  • Vital signs will be taken often and your child will be asked to take deep breaths if possible.

Controlling Your Child's Pain

Before your child's surgery or procedure, ask questions and talk to your child's doctor about methods of pain relief and what has helped relieve pain in the past.

After your child's surgery or procedure, our goal is to control pain and make your child as comfortable as possible.

  • We will monitor pain and give your child medicine as needed.
  • The nurse will ask your child to rate his/her pain either using a scale of 1–10, (one being the least amount of pain and ten being the most), or a faces scale where your child will select a face that represents how he/she feels. This will help the doctors and nurses determine how much medicine to give your child.

Pain medicine can be given in pill form, through a vein (IV) or epidural (a small tube placed in the back).

Children may also control their own pain through the use of Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA). The PCA is a machine that holds the pain medicine ordered by your doctor. It is connected to an intravenous (IV) line and your child can push a button to receive pain medicine. It is computerized so your child cannot receive too much medicine. Not all children can have a PCA, so you might want to ask the doctor or nurse about it.

Good Pain Control

  • Helps your child's body rest and heal with greater comfort.
  • Helps your child feel better faster. With less pain, your child can start walking, do breathing exercises and get strength back more quickly. Your child may even leave the hospital sooner.

To get best results, work with your doctors and nurses to choose the plan and methods that will work best for your child. The amount or type of pain they feel may not be the same as others feel. It's important to tell your doctors and nurses when your child has pain so the medicine, dose or timing can be adjusted.


The food your child can eat is decided by the type of surgery or procedure he/she had.

  • Anesthesia and the pain medicine your child is taking tend to slow the natural wavelike movements of the intestines.
  • Your doctor will generally order a liquid diet first, so the stomach does not get "upset". Your child should drink the liquids slowly and in small amounts.
  • Once your child can handle the liquid diet, he/she will be put back on a regular diet or a special diet.
  • You can request special food based upon ethnicity or culture.

Your child is well on the road to recovery once able to eat, urinate and have a bowel movement.

Preventing Complications

There are certain things you can do to help your child have a safe and speedy recovery.


  • The type and amount of activity your child can do is decided by the type of procedure he/she had. An important goal is to become more mobile.
  • Exercise is an important way to prevent complications after the procedure.
  • Your child may be out of bed within two hours to 24 hours after surgery or procedure.
  • Walking early after the procedure helps circulation and muscle tone.

Although it may be uncomfortable for your child, exercise will speed recovery. Gradually, your child's condition will improve daily. Each day he/she will be a little stronger and will be able to do more.

Coughing, Deep Breathing and Turning

  • Coughing, deep breathing, and turning are important because they can help prevent your child from getting any lung complications.
  • When your child turns, have him/her assume a position that is comfortable. To be more comfortable, have your child turn slowly with the nurse's help and position a pillow behind the back. Your child should turn every one to two hours.
  • Depending on where the incision is, deep breathing and coughing can cause discomfort. For example, if the incision is in the chest or abdomen, take the pillow and place it over your child's stomach when they cough.
  • Your child may be given a breathing apparatus (Inspirex, Respirex) and should take 10 deep breaths every hour. Your child will be taught how to use this. It is important for your child to cough deeply. Deep breathing and coughing can help clear secretions that may have settled in the lungs during the surgery or procedure. These secretions can cause infections like pneumonia.

Expectations After the Surgery or Procedure

  • After the procedure the nurses will watch your child closely.
  • Vital signs will be checked frequently, even at night.
  • Remember, recovery from any procedure is made earlier by the child's efforts to get well.
  • After your child returns home, his/her body is still healing. Keep in mind it may take some time before your child is feeling better.
  • Before discharge you will receive instructions about follow-up appointments.
  • Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital discharge time is 11 am for patients who have been admitted to the hospital.
  • Outpatients who have had surgery or a special procedure will receive a post procedural telephone call the following day.