Effective May 11, some surgeries are being scheduled. Please click here for the most up to date information on our surgery centers.

What to expect

Helping kids feel calm and prepared

At Children’s, one of our main goals is to reduce anxiety for you and your child. We realize that knowing what to expect makes surgery, anesthesia and recovery less stressful for your whole family. We’ll keep you involved and informed every step of the way.

We’ve developed a number of terrific resources to help you and your child get ready for an upcoming surgery:

Pre-surgery walking tours. Get a peek into the Children’s surgery experience by attending a pre-surgery tour, which includes a walking tour of the facility. The tours are led by a child life specialist, who explains the upcoming surgery in age-appropriate terms. Tours are designed for children ages 11 and younger, as well as their parents, siblings and other family members. For children ages 12 and up, call the child life program at 612-813-6259 to ask questions or make other arrangements.

Read-along coloring book. This is a fun reading and coloring book for younger kids to help them understand what to expect at surgery.

Coming to Children’s for surgery

Young patients come to Children’s for surgery by one of three paths:

  • Non-emergency surgery. Most families have planned in advance for when their baby, child or teen will have surgery, which allows time to prepare.
  • Emergency surgery. Some children need immediate surgical care. They may come directly to Children’s – Minneapolis or Children’s – St. Paul, or they may be transferred from another medical center. Depending on the circumstances, they might arrive by ambulance, helicopter or plane.
  • Fetal diagnosis and treatment. Certain conditions can be surgically treated before birth using state-of-the-art procedures.

Surgeries and other invasive procedures are performed at these locations:

  • Children’s Minnesota Surgery Center – Minneapolis: Inpatient and outpatient (day) surgery
  • Children’s Minnesota Surgery Center – St. Paul: Inpatient and outpatient (day) surgery
  • Children’s Minnesota Surgery and Specialty Center – Minnetonka: Outpatient (day) surgery

Heading home after surgery

After surgery, our patients follow different paths home as well:

  • Home on same day. Some surgeries are known as “day surgeries” where the procedure is complete and the child goes home within the business day.
  • Short stay. Some children stay after their surgery for up to 23 hours, known as short stay and that may mean they are here overnight before going home.
  • Inpatient hospital stay. Other children stay overnight or longer in one of our private patient rooms on our medical/surgical unit.
  • Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) stay. Children who need more intensive, 24-hour care may spend time in the PICU in a private patient room.


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


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.


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Children’s Minnesota goes above and beyond to help prevent and treat pain with Children’s Comfort Promise.