The Children's Surgery Center, located on the fourth floor of UCSF Medical Center Children's Hospital, is a special suite of rooms designed especially to meet the surgical needs of children and their families.
It is different from UCSF Medical Center's adult surgical facilities in several ways, including brightly colored furnishings and pictures on the ceilings of operating rooms. Instruments and equipment are designed to meet the challenges of small bodies. And the center is designed to allow children and parents to be together as much as possible during this stressful time. We recognize that the reassuring presence of parents goes a long way toward preparing a child for surgery and recovery.
Our doctors, nurses and other caregivers have special training in dealing with the specific conditions of children's illnesses. We have learned through training and experience how best to communicate with youngsters who may not have the skills to express themselves.
Our Children's Surgery Center includes:
Pediatric surgical waiting area
This area, adjacent to the surgical suite, is where you can wait during your child's operation. You also are free to visit the cafeteria, Gift Shop and other facilities while you wait.
When the surgery is finished, the surgeon will come to you in this area to tell you how it went and what you can expect. A short time later, a nurse will call the waiting area to ask you to come to the recovery room to be with your child.
If you're familiar with adult surgery, you may not have heard of the induction room because we don't have one for adult procedures. This is an area where you and your child can be together while the anesthesiologist starts the process of putting your child to sleep.
When it is close to the time for your child's operation, you and your child will be called to the induction area where nurses will check in your child. You also will meet the anesthesiology team and nurses who will take care of your child in the operating room. The anesthesiologist will ask questions about your child's health and previous experiences with anesthesia and answer any questions you might have, even if you have been to the Prepare preoperative clinic.
Most children are frightened of needles, so we give them anesthetic gas, which they inhale instead. When they are small - less than 7 or 8 months old - anesthesia is usually begun in the operating room. Older infants and children may go to "sleep" in the induction area, often in a parent's arms. We have rocking chairs for parents for that purpose. After your child is asleep, he or she is either carried or transported on a rolling bed to the operating room where the anesthetic is continued. Parents then go to the waiting area.
Your child most likely will be asleep throughout the surgery. Surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists work together as a team to provide your child with comprehensive, coordinated care.
The recovery room is also called the post anesthesia recovery unit or PACU. When the operation is over, your child needs constant monitoring while his or her body stabilizes and the effects of the anesthesia begin to wear off. We know you are eager to see your child and that your child will want to see you. We will call you to the recovery room as soon as possible, usually much sooner than you would be called for an adult's recovery.
Recovery room stays can vary from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the length of the surgery. Longer surgeries usually require a longer recovery period. When your child is ready, he or she will either be discharged and sent home with you, or taken to his or her hospital room. Children who need to go to an Intensive Care Unit will be taken there directly from the operating room.