The Hospital Surgical Setting for a Child

Where will my child have surgery?

Your child most likely has been referred to a pediatric surgeon or other specialist that has special training to care for babies, children, and teens. Surgery may be done at a healthcare provider’s office, a clinic, an outpatient surgery center, or the hospital. Where surgery is done will depend on the following:

  • The reason for surgery

  • Whether the surgery is major or minor

  • Whether the surgery is an emergency

  • The healthcare provider's preferences

  • Your preferences

Pediatric surgeons often work with a team. This team may include:

  • Anesthesiologists

  • Radiologists

  • Nurses

  • Physician assistants (PA)

  • Nurse practitioners (NP)

  • Other healthcare providers

How long will my child stay in the hospital after minor surgery?

Many surgeries done on children are done in an outpatient surgery center that's often connected to a hospital. In this case, your child will return to the outpatient surgery center after time in the recovery room. Your child can go home when fully awake, able to drink some fluids, and meets all discharge criteria required by the surgeon. In some cases, your child may need to stay overnight so they can be watched closely. This is still considered outpatient surgery even if your child stays overnight. You will be given instructions on how to care for your child at home. You'll also be given telephone numbers so you can contact a healthcare provider if you have questions when you get home.

How long will my child stay in the hospital after major surgery?

With a major surgery, the time in the hospital depends on the type of surgery and your child’s health. For some surgeries, your child will need to stay in intensive care (ICU) for close monitoring before moving to a regular room. In the pediatric unit, your child's recovery will continue to be monitored. They can get care right away in case of complications. Your surgeon will discuss the expected length of stay when you meet before surgery. Recovery time may be longer if your child has other health conditions.