Why Pediatric Surgery Matters


Your safety is our priority

Because the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff is a priority, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is:

  • Screening all patients and visitors for illness including a temperature check. No sick visitors will be allowed in our facilities.
  • Allowing two caregivers with each patient. No other family or visitors are allowed.
  • Requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times during visit.
  • Practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet away from other patients and visitors.
  • Enhancing cleaning measures

When it comes to surgery, where you take your child or teen matters. Our surgery team performs more pediatric surgeries than any other children’s hospital in the country*—nearly 45,000 in 2019—from the most common outpatient procedures to the most complex operations requiring specialized, multidisciplinary care. As a result, we’ve earned Level 1 status from the American College of Surgeons for Children’s Surgery Verification—their highest designation. No other hospitals in Georgia have achieved this level. So, when your child needs surgery, you can take comfort knowing we met their highest distinction. We are setting the bar for children who need surgery in Georgia, and are highly experienced in caring for the surgical needs of children and teens, including:

Evidence has shown that children do better when their surgical team specializes in caring for kids. Our team, including pediatric surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists, is specially trained and experienced in caring for children. Our pediatric surgeons and anesthesiologists are board certified and have received additional years of training in the specialty care of children. And, a pediatric anesthesiologist is guaranteed at Children’s.

Our hospital and surgical space is designed for children, from the colorful surroundings and pre-op playroom to the child-sized blood pressure cuffs and surgical equipment designed to meet each patient’s unique needs.

We know the importance of keeping families informed and at ease. Whatever your child’s condition and needs, you will have the information and resources you need to feel confident caring for him after he goes home.

*Children’s Hospital Association

Pre-surgery COVID-19 Testing

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is committed to your child’s safety. We also want to help make sure your child does not undergo unnecessary testing. Our team has identified the procedures that require COVID-19 testing before surgery.

Your children's doctor will determine whether a pre-surgery COVID-19 test is needed. Testing may be required if your child is having:

  • A complex surgery that requires significant recovery. We want your child to have a good recovery after surgery. Having a virus like COVID-19 could make recovery hard, so we do not want to perform the surgery if your child tests positive.
  • A procedure in which air droplets are easily transferred. Some of these procedures may include:
    • Nasal/sinus procedures
    • Tonsillectomy
    • Adenoidectomy
    • Mastoidectomy
    • Frenulectomy
    • Tympanoplasty
    • Cochlear implant
    • Dental procedures
    • Bronchoscopy
    • Cleft lip or cleft palate procedures
    • Oral surgery
    • Upper GI procedures

If your child is asked to have pre-surgery COVID-19 testing
Most children do not need to come for a pre-anesthesia clinic visit. However, if your physician requests your child have an in-person, pre-anesthesia clinic visit, their COVID-19 screening will occur as part of the visit. If your child’s test is performed during their pre-anesthesia clinic visit, it is important to minimize your child’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 until the date of surgery. Keep your child at home and limit contact with other people as much as possible. 

If your child isn’t required to come for a pre-anesthesia clinic visit, the COVID-19 screening test will occur on the day of surgery. Arrive at the time instructed to allow time for the test. 

Helpful Resources

Before surgery

Studies show that children cope better with medical procedures when they are well prepared ahead of time. Parents are better able to help their children when they are better prepared as well.

Listen to your child, let him talk about his fears, and answer his questions honestly. Show that you are confident in his safety and the surgery’s success, and make sure he knows sickness and treatment are not punishments.

If you have any concerns, talk to us before the day of surgery and away from your child. In most cases, a nurse will call you a day or two before the surgery to give you instructions. You may be asked to call ahead for instructions the day before the surgery. A child life specialist will be available to help your child relax on the day of surgery. If possible, arrange in advance for care of your other children on the day of surgery, so you can focus on the child in our care.

Pre-admission tour

To help prepare your child for his procedure, the Child Life department at Children's at Egleston and Children's at Scottish Rite offers pre-admission tours for those scheduled for medical procedures or surgeries. This service is provided by a child life specialist who is trained to help children and families cope with hospitalization and illness.
  • The tour before admission gives you and your child a chance to visit the hospital and see the sights, sounds and events you will experience the day of the procedure. 
  • The tour will give your child a chance to build trust, understand what is involved and gain control over the experience. It is a non-threatening way to learn about the hospital. 
  • Children are less scared when told what to expect and why. Pre-operative teaching can give your child the support that is needed. 
  • Parents and children over the age of 3 are welcome – as well as brothers and sisters over 3. 
  • Parents of children under the age of 3 are also invited; however, the tour is geared toward children over 3. 

To attend a pre-admission tour, contact:

Children's at Egleston: Ashley McClain, CCLS at 404-785-6325.

Children's at Scottish Rite: Sarah Rodgers, CCLS at 404-785-4286.

Preparing for an overnight stay

We have most of the things your child will need during his stay. Children’s provides diapers, hospital gowns and slipper socks. We have breast pumps for breastfeeding mothers, or you may bring your own. We also provide toys for your child’s age and video games.

Each of our private rooms includes a hide-a-bed sofa, bathroom, television and telephone, and each floor has a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. You can eat in our cafeteria or have meals delivered to your child’s room. Our locations also provide a business center, family library and chapel.

Make sure to bring:

  • All your child’s medicines in their prescription bottles
  • Comfort items from home, such as favorite clothes, a special toy or blanket
  • A pillow, pajamas or personal items for yourself if you plan to stay with your child (Your child will feel more secure with a parent or family member close by.)
  • Snacks from home if desired
  • Toiletries such as toothbrush and toothpaste

Day of surgery

Your child’s legal guardian must come to the hospital with your child, in order to sign papers allowing us to do the surgery.

Before walking out the door to go to the hospital, check to make sure you have:

  • A list of questions for the doctor or nurse
  • Any paperwork your child's doctor has given you
  • Your current insurance card
  • Your child's regular medicines in their prescription bottles
  • Your child's favorite blanket, stuffed animal, doll or book
  • A bottle or sippy cup if your child uses one
  • An extra pair of clothes for you and your child
    • If your child is having orthopaedic surgery on the upper (arm, wrist or shoulder) or lower (hips, leg, knee or foot) parts of his body, his doctor may provide instructions on what type of clothing to wear after surgery. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on what clothing to wear after surgery.

Please add an extra 15 minutes to your commute for parking. And smile! Put your child at ease by showing your confidence, not your concerns.

Let us know right away if your child has had any signs of illness, such as fever, a cold, vomiting or diarrhea. Also let us know if he has been exposed to chickenpox, or if anyone in your household has been exposed to tuberculosis (TB). If you need to cancel, let us know as soon as possible so the surgery can be rescheduled.

Pre-anesthesia history forms

When your child is scheduled for surgery, you need to fill out a pre-anesthesia history form with health questions about your child. You can fill out this form in advance at home and save time. Choose the link for the location where your child is having surgery: