Q: How can I help my child prepare for surgery?

A: Although specific details will depend on your child’s age and the surgical procedure, it’s always best to be clear and honest, as well as reassuring. In other words, don’t baby your child — explain what the surgery is for, what’s going to happen during it, and how he or she might feel after waking up.

You don’t need to explain every potential complication, but you do need to be truthful so your child knows what to expect: Kids are tougher than we sometimes give them credit for.

If you are concerned about your child’s fear or apprehension regarding surgery, the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Child Life Program uses age-specific approaches to help lessen a child’s anxiety about any aspect of a hospital or surgery.

More information: Preparing for Surgery at OHSU Doernbecher

Kenneth Azarow, M.D.
Division of Pediatric Surgery
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital