Types of pediatric surgery

What Kind of Surgery is My Child Having?

If your child needs surgery, you may be wondering if the procedure requires an overnight stay or if he can go home the same day. Will the surgery require a large incision or will it be minimally invasive? 

Surgery can be classified into types based on the level of care needed and the procedure’s tools and techniques. Some of the common terms you may hear from your pediatric surgeon include:

  • Day surgery
  • Inpatient surgery
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Emergency operations

At Austin Pediatric Surgery, we’re here to help you understand the differences and similarities between various types of surgery.

Day Surgery

Day surgery is also known as outpatient or ambulatory surgery. When your child is scheduled for day surgery, he or she will not be required to stay overnight in the hospital. Day surgery is recommended when the procedure cannot be completed in a doctor’s office, but it’s not so intensive that it requires the patient to stay in the hospital overnight for follow-up. 

Day pediatric surgery allows parents to spend more time with their children before and after the procedure. The OR team and anesthesiologists will meet with you in the pre-op or pre-procedure room to discuss how anesthesia will be administered. 

To decrease anxiety, many children can begin sedation by inhaling anesthetic gases. Once they fall asleep, an IV is inserted and surgery can begin.

After the surgery, parents are welcome to join their child during the early recovery period to give their child support as the anesthesia wears off.

Common pediatric procedures performed during day surgery often include:

Inpatient Surgery

Inpatient pediatric surgery is scheduled when the child needs more post-op care and monitoring by the surgical team. Because extra care is needed, your child will have to stay at least one night in the hospital. The total length of stay depends on the specific surgery or procedure.

Most of the pre-op care is similar to day or outpatient surgery, and the goal is still to let parents spend as much time with their child as possible.  But since your child will be spending at least one night away from home, parents must do more planning and preparation in advance of the procedure.

Pediatric procedures that may require an inpatient stay include:


Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive pediatric surgery uses special instruments to better visualize the operation site, and this type of surgery allows for smaller incisions. These procedures have faster recovery times, less pain, require fewer narcotics, and result in reduced scarring.

Some procedures and surgeries that use minimally invasive techniques include:


Emergency Surgery

Pediatric patients account for 25% of the Emergency Department visits in the U.S. 

ER doctors are prepared to quickly respond if an injury or illness poses an immediate risk to the child’s life or long-term health.

For ER surgeries that are not the result of pediatric trauma or injury, the most common emergency procedures are appendicitis, hernia, and intestinal obstruction. Many of these non-trauma-related emergency surgeries are for neonatal fetal diagnoses.

Let Us Answer Your Questions

The different classifications of surgery are not mutually exclusive. Your child may need emergency surgery, but the recommended surgical technique might be minimally invasive. Some surgeries do not have to be scheduled right away but will require one or more days in the hospital.

If your child needs surgery, it’s likely you’re feeling scared, stressed, and confused. Austin Pediatric Surgery has cared for Central Texas’s infants and children for over 20 years, and our staff includes the best pediatric surgeons in the area. Let us reassure you by providing the information you need to be strong for your child.  

Contact us today to learn more.