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975 East Third Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-778-7000

Children's Hospital at Erlanger Erlanger Baroness Campus Erlanger Bledsoe Campus Erlanger East Campus Erlanger North Campus UT Erlanger Physicians Group





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Pediatric Surgery: A Family Guide

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Children’s Hospital at Erlanger offers the highest level of pediatric surgical services in the tri-state region, including a team of highly-trained pediatric nurses, anesthesiologists and board certified pediatric surgeons.   

The staff at Children’s Hospital understands that surgery can be a stressful time for patients and their families. This brochure will provide answers to some frequently asked questions, as well as tips on how to prepare your child for surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prepare my child for surgery?

What do I need to bring on the day of my child’s surgery?

Who is on my child’s surgery team?

Who will be my child’s anesthesiologists?

How will I find out details of my child’s surgery time?

Will my child need a blood test before surgery?

Can I stay with my child before surgery?

Will my child get an IV before surgery?

How will I know how my child’s surgery went?

If my child needs to stay in the hospital, can I stay with him/her?

If I have questions or problems after I get my child home, how do I contact someone?

Where can I find out more about my child’s condition?


How can I prepare my child for surgery?
Very young children need limited information that is carefully worded. Children ages 4 to 10 may benefit from a pre-surgery tour offered by the Child Life Department. Patients and their families are given the opportunity to tour and become more familiar with the staff, equipment, and environment prior to the day of surgery. Tours are designed to answer any questions children may have about the procedure, as well as increase parents’ ability to be supportive throughout the entire surgical and recovery process. For more information and to register for a tour, please call 778-2154.
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What do I need to bring on the day of my child’s surgery?

  • Insurance information
  • A change of comfortable clothes to wear home after surgery
  • Pair of socks
  • Favorite toy or blanket
  • A sippy cup bottle from home for younger children AFTER surgery.
  • Some dental procedures may require a copy of your child’s recent medical history or physical from your child’s primary care physician.
  • Please bring papers of guardianship that prove you are authorized to sign for medical procedures if you are not the birth parent of the child.


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Who is on my child’s surgery team?
On the day of your child’s surgery, you and your child will meet all who are involved in the surgery including the surgeon, anesthesiologists, and members of the nursing staff.
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Who will be my child’s anesthesiologists?
A pediatric anesthesiologist, an anesthesiologist who has completed at least one year of specialized training in anesthesia care of infants and children, will administer and monitor your child’s anesthesia during surgery. Through special care and training, pediatric anesthesiologist can provide your child with the safest care.

How will I find out details of my child’s surgery time?
You will be contacted by phone no later than one day before your child’s surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for Monday, the latest you will be contacted is Friday.
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Will my child need a blood test before surgery?
If lab work is needed, your child’s physician will tell you when to come to the hospital for blood work. Not all procedures require lab work prior to surgery.
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Can I stay with my child before surgery?
Parents can remain with their child up until the time of surgery. The nurse will administer an oral sedative about 10-15 minutes before surgery to help your child separate from you without anxiety.
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Will my child get an IV before surgery?
Most children 10 and under are asleep before an IV is started. Older children and young adults needing an IV before anesthesia receive a numbing cream which is rubbed on like hand lotion before the IV is inserted.
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How will I know how my child’s surgery went?
Your child’s surgeon will contact you either by phone or in person to discuss the outcome of your child’s surgery. They will also provide you with instructions to follow at home to ensure a full recovery.
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If my child needs to stay in the hospital, can I stay with him/her?
If your child is staying overnight, you will be assigned a room on one of the pediatric floors. If your child is going to a general pediatric floor, you are encouraged to stay with your child throughout their entire stay. If your child needs to be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), there is liberal visitation. The PICU staff will be available to give you more detailed information.
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If I have questions or problems after I get my child home, how do I contact someone?
If you experience problems at home and have any questions, please contact your child’s primary care physician’s office. For emergencies, call 9-1-1.
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Where can I find out more about my child’s condition?
Your child’s physician may be able to provide you with web sites or support information pertaining to your child’s condition.
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IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Department of Surgery Main Line:

(423) 778-2142

Department of Surgery Fax:
(423) 778-6073

Pre-Registration:
(423) 778-5241

Department of Surgery Child Life Specialist:
(423) 778-2154

Child Life Department:
(423) 778-6814