Prepare for Surgery at Walnut Creek

Prepare for Surgery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Walnut Creek


Thank you for choosing UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland for your child’s outpatient surgical procedure. Our board-certified physicians and pediatric-trained nurses and technicians devote 100% of their medical practice to caring for children—providing the safest care possible, in a child-friendly environment.

Our goal is to make your experience at Children’s outpatient surgery center as safe and pleasant as possible. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s surgery or recovery progress you may call our nurses at any time.

If you have questions or concerns, please call us at: (925) 979-3400

How to Prepare For Surgery

At Children’s Hospital Oakland Walnut Creek Campus our Surgery Center has the most advanced equipment for delivering anesthesia and monitoring your child. Operating rooms are equipped with easy access to the patient’s digital images.

Things to remember for your surgery:

  • Tell the telephoning nurse or the surgeon if your child has been sick during the three weeks before surgery.
  • Bring your insurance information, guardianship papers and the “History and Physical” form for each visit to the center.
  • Follow the food restrictions for your child starting the night before surgery.
  • Check if your child should take medications on the day of surgery.
  • Bring your child’s favorite comfort items like a blanket, toy, doll or book on surgery day.
  • Arrive at least an hour before the scheduled operation, but no earlier than 6:30 AM.
  • The legal guardian must remain at Children’s Outpatient Surgery Center throughout their child’s stay.
  • Do not bring other children to Children’s Outpatient Surgery Center. Please make alternate arrangements for your other children.
  • Fill any prescription medications for your child immediately following surgery.
  • Have your child’s favorite but appropriate foods and drinks available upon returning home after surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

To make your child’s surgical procedure and recovery go smoothly, it’s important for you and your child to be prepared. A Children’s Hospital Childlife Specialist can help.

  • surgery anesthesia child life specialistA child life specialist will answer all the questions you or your child may have, in language appropriate to your child’s age. This may include role-playing all parts of the anesthesia and surgery experience with you and your child. 
Before your child’s surgery, one of our nurses will call you to review your child’s medical history, cover our anesthesia procedures and discuss what your child may or may not eat before surgery.
  • To help your child on the day of surgery, bring your child’s special toy, doll, book or blanket.
  • If your child has been sick with a cough, runny nose or fever above 100° F within three weeks before surgery, it is important to speak with a staff nurse to get pre-operative clearance.

Night Before Surgery

Follow the specific instructions given to you over the phone by the surgery center nurse. Make sure your child has an empty stomach.

That Means:

  • No solid food or milk after midnight
  • Clear liquids may be given if our nurse told you that it is allowed — If you cannot see through the liquid it is not clear. Good choices are clear apple juice, Pedialyte or 7-Up.
  • Absolutely nothing in the mouth, not even chewing gum, for three (3) hours before surgery

Day of Surgery

  • Arrive at least one (1) hour before the surgery’s scheduled start time—but not before 6:30 a.m.—to allow time for the registration process and preparation time with the child life specialist.
  • A legal decision-maker (parent, legal guardian, responsible caretaker) must accompany the patient on the day of their surgery and remain at the surgery center during their procedure.
  • If you would like a free interpreter to assist you during your visit, please let us know so we can arrange one for you.
  • A registration clerk will help with your paperwork. Please bring your medical insurance cards. If you are not the patient’s parent, please bring court orders or other documentation authorizing you to make medical decisions for the patient.
  • Give us any completed “History and Physical” form that your pediatrician or surgeon may have given you.
  • Please don’t bring other children with you. Make alternate child care arrangements so the child having surgery will have your full attention.
  • All female patients older than 12 years are required to give a urine sample. Please have your child wait until she gets here to go to the bathroom so we can collect that sample.

Before Surgery

  • Remove your child’s jewelry (including earrings), as well as braids, beads or hair accessories.
  • Help your child put on a hospital gown or pajamas.
  • Some children will be given a medication by mouth to help prepare them for anesthesia.
  • The anesthesiologist will meet with you to explain the anesthesia process.
  • If you have any questions, please let us know. Please ask any questions you may have about the procedure.

Anesthesia and Surgery

The anesthesiologist will help your child go to sleep in the induction room or operating room.

  • Some children may have their parents with them as they fall asleep in the induction room.
  • For safety reasons, other children will go to sleep in the operating room without a parent present.
The anesthesiologist will decide on the safest way for your child to go to sleep:
  • AnesthesiaMost children go to sleep by breathing into a mask that resembles one worn by jet pilots or astronauts.
  • The air your child breathes will make him or her feel silly and giggly inside.
  • Within seconds, your child will feel very, very sleepy.
  • As sleep deepens, some children go through an “excitement” phase and may wiggle around.
  • Your child will not remember this period.
  • Sometimes we need to start an IV to help your child fall asleep.
  • The anesthesiologist will monitor your child carefully to make sure your child will feel no pain during the operation.

In the Recovery Room

After the operation, your child will go into the recovery room, which is often called the “wake-up room.” Parents or guardians are allowed in the recovery room.

Children vary in their reactions to anesthesia:

  • Many children wake up groggy but comfortable.
  • Others may wake up crying because they are confused.
  • Our specially trained pediatric recovery room nurse will closely monitor your child during this time to keep your child as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

Going Home

The nurses and doctors caring for your child will decide when he or she can go home. You will be given instructions to help you care for your child at home. Do not hesitate to ask questions before you leave; we want you to be comfortable caring for your child.

On rare occasions, children having outpatient surgery cannot be sent home the same day. If this occurs, we will discuss this with you and arrange for your child’s admission to Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

Once home, your child may be tired and want to nap for the rest of the day. Plan to stay close by because your child may be groggy or unsteady. Your child may also be irritable for the rest of the day and that night. If your doctor has given you a prescription for medication for your child, it is important that you get the prescription filled immediately and use it as directed.

If your child did not drink clear liquids before leaving the center, you may begin these as soon as you arrive home.

  • Make sure that you have a supply of your child’s favorite clear liquids at home.
  • If clear liquids are tolerated for an hour without vomiting, you may give your child soup and gradually advance to normal foods.
  • We recommend that your child avoid eating spicy or hard-to-digest foods for the first day.
  • Do not force your child to eat, but encourage fluids, which will probably help your child feel better sooner.
  • Do not worry if your child does not want to drink after surgery. Be sure to talk to us if your child is not drinking by the next morning.
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Prepare for Surgery at Walnut Creek