Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center

To help reduce your child's anxiety, Surgical Center staff take special care to make him or her as comfortable as possible. Children can watch videos, color or just visit with family while being prepped for surgery. Our caring staff are happy to answer all of their questions and walk them through the process so they know what to expect.

Surgery is an experience that involves the entire family. We know that the reassuring presence of parents helps alleviate fears and prepare children for surgery. Our facilities are designed to allow children and parents to be together as much as possible.


We hope that this list of frequently asked questions will address many of your concerns.

If you still have questions, speak with your physician or call us at 814.234.6750.

  • Parents are required to accompany their child throughout most of the process. Parents are permitted in the preoperative area but may not be in the operating room. After the child wakes up following surgery, parents will again be allowed to stay with their child until he or she is discharged.
  • At the end of the procedure, the surgeon will update you on how the surgery went and on your child's condition.
  • Call your surgeon's office if your child develops a cold or flu-like symptoms the week of surgery or if your child has been exposed to someone who has chicken pox, measles, mumps, shingles, impetigo or lice within three weeks prior to surgery.
  • The safest way for your child to receive anesthesia is on an empty stomach. Eating or drinking after the restricted times given to you by the surgical nurse will result in the cancellation of surgery for your child's safety.
  • Only a parent or legal guardian may sign the consent form for surgery. If you are not the biological or adoptive parent, but you do have guardianship of the child, please bring your proof of legal guardianship with you on the day of surgery.
  • All family members, including children, are allowed to accompany the child in the pre- and postoperative areas.
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Day of surgery


Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center requires that at least one parent or legal guardian accompany a child on the day of his or her outpatient surgery and remain in the waiting room at all times during the surgery.

Parents accompany their child to the preoperative area as the child is prepared for surgery, and a nurse will get the parents as soon as the child wakes up in the postoperative recovery area.

Preparing for surgery

Take these important steps to make sure that both you and your child are ready for the day of surgery.

  • Call your physician's office if your child has been exposed to a contagious disease, such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, shingles, impetigo or lice up to three weeks before the surgery.

  • Do not give your child any aspirin or ibuprofen for at least one week before surgery. Your child can take acetaminophen (Tylenol).

  • Follow the presurgical instructions listed in the patients section to prepare your child for surgery. These instructions include dietary and other restrictions that usually begin the day before the scheduled surgery.

  • Give your child a bath or shower, and wash his or her hair the night before surgery.

  • Remove all nail polish and jewelry (including any piercings) from your child.

  • Collect everything you need to bring for the ride home, including a favorite toy that he or she may keep with him or her, as well as a blanket and pillow.

  • Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing (may include pajamas).

  • Have a supply of clear liquids at home for after surgery, such as ginger ale, apple juice, sports drinks and popsicles.

  • A responsible adult is required to drive the child home following surgery. Public transportation, including taxicabs, is not permitted following surgery unless the child is accompanied by an adult.

  • You can use a blanket and pillow to make your child comfortable for the ride home, but be sure not to interfere with any safety devices on the child's car seat and/or seat belt.

  • Plan to give your child clear liquids and light meals the day of surgery (unless otherwise indicated in your discharge instructions). Avoid heavy meals, especially fast food.

  • Before you leave after the surgery, a nurse will give you detailed verbal and written discharge instructions, as ordered by the surgeon, and will answer any questions you may have.

Things to bring

Make sure to bring the following items to the Surgical Center:

  • Any papers provided by your child's primary care physician, including medical history, physical forms and the consent form

  • Legal guardian papers (if you are not the biological parent)

  • Insurance information, including authorization, if required by your insurer

  • Favorite toy or security object from home (for teenagers, this could be an iPod)

  • Preferred bottle, sippy cup or sports bottle

  • Blanket and pillow for the ride home

Talking to your child about surgery

Surgery can be a challenging experience for children and their parents. To help take the mystery and fear out of the process, Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center offers these tips for parents to help educate and prepare children before the scheduled surgery:

  • Take a tour of the Surgical Center before the surgery. We encourage families to bring kids for tours to familiarize them with the facilities and meet our friendly staff members. The tour is conducted by a registered nurse and is focused on helping to take away the child's fear of the unknown. Children will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience with the equipment in a positive learning atmosphere. Our staff will show your kids the different areas and equipment throughout the Surgical Center and will be happy to answer any questions and explain the process fully. Brothers and sisters are also encouraged to attend.

  • Talk with your child and allow him or her to ask plenty of questions. Use simple, honest language to describe the process. Remember that other children in the family may be anxious and have questions, too.

  • For toddlers, only prepare them a day or so before surgery. Focus on what your child will see, hear, taste and feel. Offer some choices to give him or her a sense of control: "Which toy do you want to bring?" or "Which ear do you want the nurse to look in first?"

  • For preschoolers, prepare them about three to five days in advance. Focus on what your child will see, hear, taste and feel. Use concrete examples to explain experiences: "It will hurt less than a bee sting." or "You will be asleep before you can count to 10." Offer him or her some choices. Let your child play doctor and demonstrate using a stuffed animal or doll. Reassure your child that he or she will sleep through the whole procedure.

  • For elementary school-aged children, prepare them a week or two before surgery. Encourage them to ask questions and offer simple, honest answers. Take them on a tour of the facility. Let them express their concerns and fears, which are common at this age. Reassure your child that he or she will sleep through the whole procedure.

  • For adolescents, talk about what is going to happen and prepare them one to two weeks in advance. Give detailed answers to questions. Take them on a tour of the facility and encourage them to ask the surgeon and nurse any questions they may have. Respect their need for privacy.

Day of surgery

To make sure your child's day of surgery goes as smoothly as possible, please follow all of these instructions.

  • Parents are required to accompany children throughout the process, except in the operating room.

  • You may stay with your child in the preoperative area as a nurse takes the child's vital signs and prepares him or her for surgery. An anesthesiologist will also see the child at this time.

  • A nurse and the anesthesiologist will accompany your child to the operating room.

  • One parent/legal guardian must remain in the waiting room at all times during the surgery.

  • At the end of surgery, the surgeon will update you on your child's condition and how the surgery went.

  • After the surgery is complete, your child will be taken to a private recovery room and attended by his or her own nurse while the anesthesia wears off.

  • As soon as your child is awake and stable, he or she will be taken to the postoperative area, where you will be reunited with him or her. The nurses will answer any questions you may have and will give you detailed verbal and written instructions as ordered by the surgeon.


After discharge, make sure you follow all of your physician's instructions.

Discharge instructions typically include the following responsibilities:

  • Fill any prescriptions given by the surgeon, and follow the discharge instructions about administering medication, if applicable.

  • Give your child clear liquids, such as ginger ale, apple juice, sports drinks and popsicles.

  • Give your child light meals the first day home from surgery and avoid fast food, which is too heavy and greasy for the postoperative period.

  • Your child will probably want to sleep or rest comfortably for some time upon your return home. Keep physical activity to a bare minimum unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

  • Keep the discharge instructions on your refrigerator or near your telephone.

  • Call your physician's office or the Surgical Center at 814.234.6750 if you have any questions or any problems arise. If there are serious complications, go to the emergency department immediately.