12 Questions to Ask Before a Child’s Surgery


When a child faces surgery, the procedure can be just as scary – or even scarier – for a parent.

The good news is that CHOC practices patient- and family-centered care, and works to ensure parents and patients are informed.

Parents with a child facing surgery should ask plenty of questions to learn as much as possible about their child’s surgery and post-operative care – and CHOC’s surgical services team is ready with answers.

“You have to do whatever you need to do so you feel like you are being a good parent,” says Dr. David Gibbs, a pediatric surgeon and president of CHOC’s medical staff.

Dr. Gibbs recommends that parents ask the following questions before a child’s surgery:

  1. How will this operation help my child?
  2. Is the surgery an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
  3. How long will my child need to be in the hospital?
  4. What type of incision will be used?
  5. What medications will he need?
  6. What are the risks of the surgery and the anesthesia?
  7. What type of post-surgery care will the child need afterward?
  8. How will my child’s pain be managed?
  9. When will my child be fully recovered?
  10. What limitations will my child have after surgery, and for how long?
  11. When can my child eat and drink after surgery?
  12. Is there anything else you think we need to know about this surgery?

Learn more about the Tidwell Procedure Center and surgery at CHOC.

5 thoughts on “12 Questions to Ask Before a Child’s Surgery”

  1. Dr. Gibbs is a phenomenal surgeon. He performed a successful surgery on my daughter. He was caring, knowledgeable and accessible from the first appointment. I would recommend him to anyone.

    1. Thank you, Deborah. We agree that Dr. Gibbs is a wonderful physician, surgeon and child advocate!

  2. Dr. Gibbs handled all of my Karlie’s surgeries during her fight against cancer. He answered every question that was asked. What was supposed to be a 4 hour surgery turned into 8 hours because he was so thorough. Love him.

  3. I like that you suggest to ask the surgeon what limitations your child will have after the surgery and how long they will have them for. I can see why this would better help you understand what to expect. My nephew was born with a cleft lip and is schedule to have surgery in three months. I’ll have to remind my sister to ask the doctors about this before going in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *