Planning for Surgery

We recognize how much thought and preparation goes into planning for surgery. To help you get ready a team of parents, teens and staff created this part of the Web site to provide information about the surgery experience and answer your questions.

At Children's we know everyone's experience is individual and unique. We are committed to working as a team to meet you and your family's needs.

Surgery Attend a Pre-Surgery Walking Tour

The pre-surgery program walking tour at each site is the best way to learn about having surgery at Children's. Our pre-surgery programs are designed for patients, parents, and other family members.

Information about Pre-Surgery Walking TourArrowBlue
Register for Pre-Surgery Walking TourArrowBlue

Download our Pre-Surgery Guide for the following locations:

Helping Parents Prepare for Your Child's Surgery

Getting Ready
Parent's Checklist
Questions for Your Child's Care Team
Self Care Tips for Parents
What Happens Before Surgery?
What Happens During Surgery?
What Happens After Surgery?
Staying Overnight
How to making sure your child's care needs are being met; Rapid Response Team
View Pre-Surgery Video Tour for Parents

Helping Teens Prepare for Surgery

Common Questions
Questions for Your Care Team
Questions Asked During Pre-Op screening
What to Bring the Day of Surgery
What Happens Before Surgery
What Happens After Surgery
What Happens During Surgery
Staying Overnight
Tap into the support of the Children's Youth Advisory Council
View Pre-Surgery Video Tour for Teens

Parents Helping Kids Prepare for Surgery


Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Bring the Day of Surgery
What Happens Before Surgery
What Happens During Surgery
What Happens After Surgery
Read-along Coloring Book (PDF to print and color)
View Pre-Surgery Video Tour for Kids

Children's surgery teams have delivered award-winning care to thousands of infants, children, and adolescents throughout the upper Midwest.

For outcomes and program information about specific types of surgery, visit the surgical specialty page that applies to your child.

To review more outcomes data from Children's, visit Children's outcomes section on the web. Below, review outcomes data about overall surgical care at Children's:

Surgery Outcomes: Volumes 

At Children's, we believe that our pediatric expertise, accomplished staff members, and high patient satisfaction has helped our surgery program steadily grow. Each year, the number of patients served, hours spent in surgery, and number of surgical procedures increases.

Surgery Outcomes: Patient Satisfaction

Questions posed to family members of patients receiving surgery care at Children's – Minneapolis or Children's – St. Paul

  • Pre-op instructions were adequate. 92.8
  • I had confidence and trust in the doctors treating my child. When I had important questions about my child to ask a doctor, I received answers I could understand. 95.2
  • My child's doctors were courteous. 88.1
  • My child's doctors were available. 99.0
  • I had confidence and trust in the nurses treating my child. 95.5
  • My child's nurses were courteous. 90.2
  • My child's nurses were available. 98.8
  • The doctor who performed my child's procedure answered my questions about the procedure in a way I could understand. 92.2
  • After my child's surgery, the surgeon spoke with me promptly. 91.5
  • My privacy was maintained during my visit. 92.6
  • I was involved in decisions about my child's care as much as I wanted. 92.2
  • Overall, my child received enough pain medicine. 93.0
  • The staff did everything they could to control my child's pain. 93.3
  • I was told who to call with questions or concerns about caring for my child. 97.2
  • I had enough say about my child's care. 97.9
  • During my stay, I was not treated differently from other families based on my race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or primary language. 97.4
  • I feel I was welcome at Children's. 96.7
  • The staff showed genuine care and compassion for me and my family. 92.9
  • I trust this hospital to take good care of my child. 94.5
  • I'd recommend this hospital to my family and friends. 91.3

Chief of surgery: Dave Shmeling, MD

Vice chief of surgery: David Vandersteen, MD

Director of surgical services: Gloria Drake

Medical director of cardiovascular services: David Dassenko, MD


To view information on surgeons at Children's, choose a specific category of surgery or visit Find a Doctor.

Other team members you may meet

Child life specialists

These trained professional work with children and adolescents to minimize the stress of surgery.

Experienced pediatric nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners

Intensive care nurses caring for surgery patients have an average of 10 years of experience at Children's in our pediatric intensive care units. The superior care provided by Children's nurses helped us earn the prestigious "Magnet" designation, which recognizes nursing excellence.

Pediatric anesthesiologists

These doctors are highly trained in working with children to help them remain calm, comfortable and safe before, during, and after surgery.

Pediatric critical care specialists

These physicians are specially trained in pediatric critical care medicine. Pediatric critical care specialists provide care in Children's intensive care units 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Pediatric pain specialists.

The pain team works with families to manage your child's symptoms and pain.

Social workers

The social work team provides emotional support and counseling, assistance with finding community resources, coordinating care, and planning for discharge.