General Postop Instructions


So your child has gone through surgery smoothly! Aren’t you relieved? I most certainly am! Despite going through thousands of surgeries, any caring surgeon is mighty pleased that the current operation ends in the usual, routine good result. To deal with some questions that you may have in your mind.

Doctor, How long will the child take to come out of anesthesia and become conscious?

Your child is brought into his room only after the anesthetist is convinced that he is fully out of anesthesia and that his protective reflexes, like the cough reflex, have returned.

What is the cough reflex?

At one point, the food and the wind pipes have a common passage, the food being directed into the food pipe and the air in the wind-pipe. If any food item were to try and enter the wind pipe, the child would immediately cough it out. This is reflex, but this reflex is depressed under anesthesia and may result in the child aspirating (inhaling) some food items. This is why it is essential to operate on an empty stomach.

Then why is my child still sleeping?

The anesthetic agents that we use and the preoperative sedatives have a prolonged sedative effect and the child on an average, sleeps for around two hours after surgery. This is good because it allows the child to recover from surgery and diminishes the pain and discomfort that he would otherwise feel. Most children also receive some sort of anesthetics either in the wound or the nerves supplying the operated area and have much less pain than they normally would have.

Doctor, my child has had nothing to eat or drink for so long! When can I feed him?

You may not feed the child for at least 2 hours after surgery. Unless the child has some metabolic problem like diabetes, children can tolerate this prolonged period of starvation pretty well. If the child is still sleeping after 2 hours, please do not attempt to feed him. Only if he is fully awake, a trial of feeding can be attempted. Give 2 spoons of water, wait for 15 minutes, then another 4-5 spoons of water, again wait for 15 minutes. If he has not vomited interim, you may give the child either milk or milk products. Do not give fruit juices or colas on empty stomach since these irritate the stomach and may induce vomiting.

What if my child vomits?

If at any point of time, the child should vomit please do not give him anything by mouth for one hour. Then restart the feeding regimen gradually. If the child should vomit more than twice, we prefer to admit him overnight and give intravenous fluids. The nurse will administer an IV injection that prevents vomiting if the child vomits.

When can I take the child home?

Whenever the child has demonstrated the ability to tolerate oral intake without vomiting is the time to take the child home. The nurse will administer the first dose of oral medication to combat pain prior to taking the child home.

Can we not keep the child overnight or longer?

Children are most comfortable in their own domestic environment. They view every nurse or doctor as having the potential to cause them pain and therefore are anxious and apprehensive in hospital. It is only when we are convinced that you will be able to handle any complications or problems do we send the child home. If you should have any problems, first consult the instructions given specifically for the condition of your child and if you still have doubts, do not hesitate to contact me.


Have questions or comments?