What happens before your operation?

Have a look at our virtual tour.

It is really important that there is no food in your stomach (tummy) before you go to sleep. 

Children’s theatres have moved to a new home. We are now in freedom theatres. When you arrive at the hospital you will have your temperature taken. One of our receptionists will check we know your name, address and birthday. 

One of our nurses will meet you and give you a hospital bracelet with your name on. They will weigh you, measure your height and check your temperature and heart rate. Most children have special cream on the back of their hands – this stops the anaesthetic from feeling sore.

Then you get to meet your anaesthetist and surgeon. Your anaesthetist is the doctor who will look after you while you are asleep and the surgeon is the doctor who will perform your operation or test. The anaesthetist will explain about going to sleep and the surgeon will explain all about your operation or test.

This video explains all about your anaesthetic. Parents this video is aimed at younger children. Further resources can be found at https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/patient-information/patient-information-resources/information-children-parents-carers

There are 2 ways to start an anaesthetic (going to sleep):

If you have the magic cream on your hand then the anaesthetist can put a tiny tube in the back of your hand – the magic cream means you won’t feel it. We even have some iPads with videos and games on for you to play while you go to sleep. Once the tiny tube is in anaesthetic medicine in the tube makes you go to sleep very quickly.

Sometimes your anaesthetist will give you a mask with special gas in to go to sleep. This smells a bit like felt-tip pens and you can still play on the iPad if you want to. The mask takes a bit longer than the tiny tube and medicine. You will still have a tiny tube in your hand when you wake up, but this is put in after you go to sleep so you can’t remember it going in.

Your anaesthetist will talk to you and your parents or carers about which way is best for you.

After you have met the doctors and nurses you might need to wait in one of the waiting rooms. We may ask you to change into your pyjamas or a hospital gown. Often we give you some medicine or tablets to take. Sometimes (but not usually) the medicine might make you feel sleepy.

Sometimes you have to wait for a little while before your operation so it might be good to bring something to do while you wait.

Coming to Children's Theatres Food and Drink

Coming to Children's Theatres - Food and Drink
  Food or Milk Drink
Morning operation coming in at 08.00am

No food after midnight.

Finish feeding breast milk by 06.00am, formula milk by 05.00am

Clear fluids up until 08.00am (water or squash)

No fizzy drinks

Please give your child a drink of water before leaving home

Afternoon operation coming in at 13.00pm

No food after 07.30am.

Finish feeding breast milk by 10.30am, formula milk by 09.30am

Clear fluids up until 12.30pm (water or squash)

No fizzy drinks

Please give your child a drink of water before leaving home

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