FAQ

Preparing for Surgery

Preparing for your child’s surgery

If you are visiting this page, then you may have received a clinical diagnosis for your child’s condition and your doctor has advised that your child would require a limb correction surgery. This is understandably difficult for any parent to hear. The purpose of this page is to help familiarize you and your child for this upcoming journey by offering you necessary knowledge and practical information.

The best way to prepare for the surgery is to educate yourself further on your child’s condition and what to expect in the days leading up to their surgery. If you’re interested in learning more on the limb correction surgical and non-surgical treatments, then you may look here. Following this, the next step would be to find the right surgeon for you or your loved one, if not already chosen. Important things to consider while finding a surgeon and health care team can be found here.

The following sections are dedicated to help you along this journey with useful information to guide you with what to expect for the upcoming days.

Discuss the Situation with Your Child

If your child is old enough to understand why they visited the doctor, then make sure to initiate an honest communication with them. Engage with your child and let them ask you, or the doctor, any questions that they may have.

An efficient approach, as a parent, could be to first ask your child what they think about the current circumstance before you start to provide any explanation about the diagnosis or the upcoming surgery. Asking your child first of what they know offers you a glimpse into your child’s anxiety level and allows you to start a dialogue on the essential information that they may require for the upcoming days.

As much as we would like to shield our children from difficult information, it’s best to be honest and truthful of the situation. Instead of using phrases like “it won’t be so bad,” “it won’t hurt,” “it’ll be over before you know it” and so on, try and explain to them exactly what is to be expected so that they are not caught by surprise on the day of the surgery or post-surgery.

Questions Your Child May Have for You

It is preferable to introduce the staff, nurses and doctors that would accompany your child prior to the surgery. You may request this of your doctor and their care team, who should happily oblige. You may also think about giving a small tour of the hospital premises, the operating theatre and the room where you might be spending the night prior to the surgery to help sensitize yourself and your child to the environment. Explain to your child in advance that you (the parent) won’t be allowed in the operation theatre, but that you will be right outside and that the nurses are also there to take good care of them.

Most importantly, address any questions that your child may have regarding the circumstances. The following is a list of questions that your child may have for you:

  • Why did we go to the doctor? What did they say?
  • Why are you (the parent) so worried?
  • Can we go home?
  • Why do we have to stay in the hospital?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Will I have to stay in bed forever? (or for how long?)
  • What’s a surgery?
  • Will you (the parent) be there with me the whole time?
  • Can I visit my friends and play with them when we go back home? Can they come and visit us when I’m at the hospital?
  • Can I take my favorite toy with me?

Questions You Might Have for Your Doctor

  • How painful is the post-procedure recovery? Or how much pain is expected after your child regains consciousness?
  • Will the procedure be done under general anesthesia?
  • Does your child need to fast (not consume any food) prior to surgery? If yes, then how many hours prior to surgery should they stop eating?
  • What tests will be done before or after the procedure?
  • Who can visit? When can they visit?
  • How long does the surgery take?
  • Can you stay overnight?
  • How should I explain the surgery to my child?
  • How long will the hospitalization be?
  • When can they return to school?
  • What restrictions will there be afterwards?
  • What procedures need to be followed for the admission?
  • Are there other parents you can speak with who had a child with a similar surgery/hospitalization?
  • Should you carry any X-rays or test reports on the day of pre-procedure hospital admission?

Communicating with Your Insurer

Since medical insurance may be key to receiving the treatment your child needs, it is important to communicate with your insurer to confirm whether or not the surgery and potential after-care situations will be covered.

Check your policy to see what services are and are not covered. You can request this information from your insurance company. Alternately, you and your surgeon can submit paperwork to the insurance company for “pre-certification” to ensure that there are no surprise bills after surgery. If you are pre-approved, your insurance company will let you and your doctor know. At the time of surgery, you pay the co-pay or deductible amount and your insurance should pay the rest.

However, sometimes your insurance company may deny coverage, even after pre-certification. This can be for reasons other than what is covered by the insurance policy, such as exceeding your benefit allowance. If pre-certification is denied for other reasons, such as restrictions on treatment (for example, the procedure is covered, but for a different diagnosis) or a determination that the treatment isn’t “medically necessary,” you may still be able to get insurance coverage. You can start by appealing the decision with the insurance company, which must provide you with all information about the process. By getting this information and following the process, you may be able to have a denial overturned.

Pre-Surgery Preparation and Hospital Stay Checklist

The following are some of the essential items that you may want to take along for your stay at the hospital and important topics to discuss with your healthcare provider:

  • Take your child’s vaccination record/card.
  • Inform the staff of any allergies your child may have.
  • If your child is on medications, provide a complete list to the staff/doctor. Ask them which ones you would need to bring to the hospital.
  • Depending on when your child needs to start fasting prior to the procedure, feel free to carry your child’s favorite snacks, books, toys or anything that helps make them feel more comfortable. However, keep everything limited to one small/medium sized bag (including clothes and other essentials).
  • Inform the doctor/staff of any other health condition that your child may have.
  • Carefully read through the surgical consent form that the healthcare team will provide to you. You will have to sign and return this to the team and should be provided a copy of the document.
  • Provide any X-rays and lab reports of your child (if requested).

An extra pair of loose clothes, toiletries, extra diapers, baby formula may be carried.

The Day Prior to Surgery

Fasting Guidelines
Feeding shall be stopped for your child prior to surgery. This is done to avoid any reflux of food during the procedure while the child is under anesthesia, which becomes a choking hazard. Your doctor and healthcare team will inform you about when to stop the feeding prior to surgery.

Pre-Operative Instructions
The healthcare team will provide you with any pre-operative instructions. Notify your doctor if your child is ill, has a rash, infection, or has been exposed to a communicable disease. The nurse will tell you what time you are scheduled for surgery, review the pre-operative instructions, and answer any questions that you may have.

On the Day of Surgery

Usually, children are admitted on the day of their surgery (unless for any specific reason that will be communicated to you by your doctor well in advance).

You would be provided a room where the doctors and nurses will come to examine your child. Your child may require your support for this phase.

You can stay with your child until surgery begins. You will be asked to stay in the waiting room during the surgery, where you will be given regular updates on the progress of the surgery by nurses and staff inside the operating room.

After the surgery is over, the surgeon will provide you a detailed update on how the surgery went and your child will be transferred to a post-anesthesia care room. Feel free to ask your doctor in advance on the duration of time your child might need to stay in this room, which ranges from a few hours to a day depending on the surgical procedure.

To learn more on the post-surgery care, kindly look here.

PREPARING FOR YOUR SURGERY (FOR ADULTS)

Hearing that we may need a surgery is bound to bring about some level of anxiety in you and your loved ones. Since anxiety is a fear of the unknown, the best we can do is to prepare for the upcoming surgery and educate ourselves on the essentials. The following information is offered to provide you practical tips and checklists to help you prepare better for your upcoming surgery.

In order to make the limb correction process work, you must prepare for the journey. Staying as active as possible, depending on your condition, will be important. Keeping with daily routines such as attending work and social activities will help facilitate a positive mindset.

As a first step, ensure that you understand what your condition is, including all the treatment options available for it. Find more information on the limb correction surgical and non-surgical treatments here. Following this, the next step would be to find the right surgeon for you if not already chosen. Important things to consider while finding a surgeon and health care team can be found here.

Feel free to arrange a meeting with your surgeon to ask all your questions.

Questions You Might Have for Your Doctor

No amount of questions is too many. Your doctor and their care team are there to answer any query that you may have about the condition or the surgery itself. Therefore, feel free to initiate a frank discussion with your doctor. Some questions you might want to ask are as follows:

  • What are the benefits of this procedure?
  • How long will the benefit last?
  • When will healing be complete?
  • What are the risks and complications?
  • What can I do to decrease my risk for complications?
  • What is the success rate for this procedure?
  • What are the chances that more surgeries will be required in the future?
  • What is the percentage of improvement following the procedure?
  • Can this surgery be delayed? What happens if I don’t have it immediately?
  • What tests will be performed prior to the surgery?
  • Will the surgery be done under general or local anesthesia? Are there possible side effects or risks of the anesthesia?
  • What kind of implant or device will be used?
  • How much pain will I have following the procedure? What pain relief or pain control measures will I be given?
  • How long will the recovery take? Will I need assistance at home afterwards? Do I need to prepare the home in some way for post-surgery period?
  • When can I return to work and get back to normal life?
  • Where can I learn more about the surgery and devices to be used?

Communicating with Your Insurer

Since medical insurance may be key to receiving the treatment you need, it is important to communicate with your insurer to confirm whether or not your surgery and potential after-care situations will be covered.

Check your policy to see what services are and are not covered. You can request this information from your insurance company. Alternately, you and your surgeon can submit paperwork to the insurance company for “pre-certification” to ensure that there are no surprise bills after surgery. If you are pre-approved, your insurance company will let you and your doctor know. At the time of surgery, you pay the co-pay or deductible amount and your insurance should pay the rest.

However, sometimes your insurance company may deny coverage, even after pre-certification. This can be for reasons other than what is covered by the insurance policy, such as exceeding your benefit allowance. If pre-certification is denied for other reasons, such as restrictions on treatment (for example, the procedure is covered, but for a different diagnosis) or a determination that the treatment isn’t “medically necessary,” you may still be able to get insurance coverage. You can start by appealing the decision with the insurance company, which must provide you with all information about the process. By getting this information and following the process, you may be able to have a denial overturned.

Pre-Surgery Preparation and Hospital Stay Checklist

You may consider preparing your home in advance of the surgery. For example, getting on and off the toilet might not be as straightforward. Therefore, it may be a good idea to get raised toilet seating that accommodates the fixator. You might also need additional equipment to get in and out of the bath safer and easier.

Other equipment that may come in handy include long-handled sponges and shoehorns, long-handled graspers (for items on high shelves), and long-handled sock aids. Since standing up may be reduced during the recovery phase, a high stool to sit on may be helpful to have in both the kitchen and bathroom for carrying out daily activities. Your doctor and care team can provide you with more information on these items.

Hospital Checklist
The following is a checklist of items for you to bring to the hospital:

  • A list of all medications that you may be taking.
  • Your insurance card.
  • Your primary contact details while you are in surgery.
  • You may be allowed a small suitcase/bag where you may keep comfortable clothing, toiletries etc. Try to keep anti slip, yet comfortable, footwear to avoid accidental falls.
  • Do not bring any valuables.

On the Day of Surgery

Typically, you should expect the following:

  • Your doctor and health care team will ask you many questions such as if you have any drug allergies, if you are on blood thinners, if you’re diabetic, do you or anybody in your family have a history of adverse reactions to anesthesia or any medications? You may also be asked to identify the surgical site.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form. Make sure to do so only after you have reviewed the document thoroughly and have understood everything written on the document.
  • An intravenous drip may be started either before taking you to the operation theatre (OT) or in the OT itself prior to administering anesthesia.

To learn more on the post-surgery care, kindly look here.