Helping parents prepare for your child’s surgery

What happens before surgery?

Checking in

Come to the Registration area in Admitting or the pre-operative area to check in. Bring these important documents with you:

  • copy of the History and Physical
  • lab or x-ray test results (if necessary)
  • list of any medications your child is taking
  • insurance cards

Pre-operative area

All patients at Children’s must wear an ID bracelet. The nurse will place the ID bracelet on your child’s wrist and ask you to check it to be sure your child’s name and birth date are correct. (Staff check the ID bracelet before each procedure or medicine.) The nurse also will ask what type of surgery your child is having and where on your child’s body the surgery will occur. These checks are done periodically to assure we are providing the safest possible care.

The nurse will check your child’s weight, temperature, blood pressure, and pulse to find out about your child’s health. You will be asked when your child last had anything to eat or drink (NPO) Guidelines. A pregnancy test is required for female patients 12 years old and older or if menstruation has begun. Any other required lab tests and X rays will also be done at this time.

The hospital provides pajamas for your child to wear during surgery. If you’d like, you may bring a robe and slippers for them to wear after the surgery.

Your nurse will give you a variety of written materials for you to read. There will be a copy of the Informed Consent for Surgery, Procedures and/or Anesthesiology, which you will sign after the surgeon and anesthesiologist have discussed your child’s care with you.

Other materials may include:

You may be asked to fill out a form with questions which will give us information about your child to help us better care for him or her. You will be expected to remain with or near your child throughout the pre-operative process.

After the nurse is finished, someone from child life may visit to help your child better understand the anesthesia and surgical experience. Child life staff can show pictures and let your child touch and smell the mask or play with some of the other medical equipment.

You will then meet with your child’s surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, and OR nurse who will check your child’s ID bracelet and answer any questions you may have about your child’s surgery. The surgeon will ask you to sign the Informed Consent form. At this time the surgeon may mark the site or side where the procedure will be done.

You and your child’s anesthesiologist will discuss the Anesthesia: Questions and Answers (Spanish and Somali translations available at link) that will be best for your child.

Planning for surgery can involve learning lots of new information. It can help to write down some of your questions as you’re thinking about them so you remember to ask about specific concerns.


To make the check-in process as easy as possible, we encourage patients who have an appointment for Surgery, Radiology (X-Ray) or Special Diagnostics to pre-register online.


Take a tour designed to help patients and family members to learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery day.


At Children’s Minnesota, we know how important reliable information about conditions and illnesses is.