No one likes receiving the news that their child needs surgery, regardless of whether if it’s removing tonsils or a tumor. Just the thought of surgery to a child is scary enough without even stepping into the operating room. Here is a list of five questions you should ask your pediatric surgeon.

What do I need to do before my child’s surgery?

You should create a list of questions about your child’s diagnosis and surgery. Bring this list with you to every doctor’s appointment because it is easy to forget to ask a question when you are anxious. I’ve previously written about how to get your child ready for surgery.

How long will my child be in the hospital?

The amount of time in the hospital depends on the operation and if there are any complications.

What type of anesthesia will you use?

This will depend on the operation and the age and fortitude of your child. Some operation can be done with local anesthesia, some with local and sedation, but most will be with general anesthesia. The anesthesiologist will meet you and your child before the operation and be there to help your child be as comfortable as possible during surgery.

Why can’t my child eat or drink before the surgery?

It is important that your child’s stomach is empty prior to the surgery to prevent food or liquid from coming back up from the stomach into the throat or drain into the windpipe. Also, an empty stomach reduces the chance of vomiting upon waking up from surgery.

What will the recovery be like?

It depends on the surgery. Pain and vomiting are common reactions. Speak with your pediatric surgeon about the possible reactions, especially with the medication(s). You will also be instructed on the dietary requirements and/or mobility limitations during the recovery period; they can affect how your recovery is progressing.