Procedures and Surgery

When testing and medical therapies are not enough to make a diagnosis (find out what is going on) or to help you improve, a procedure or surgery may be needed. A medical procedure is less involved, and you may receive local anesthesia (to numb the skin) and sedation medications to help you remain calm during the procedure. Surgery (or an operation) is usually more involved, and an Anesthesiologist gives you regional anesthesia (so you cannot feel a large part of your body) or general anesthesia (to put you to sleep) so that you are comfortable and not feeling any discomfort. You will receive instructions before and after the procedure to make sure everything goes well.


  • Whether you are having a procedure or surgery, there are always instructions to follow BEFOREHAND. It is very important to follow these instructions so that you have the best chance of doing well. Depending on the type of procedure or surgery you will be having, you may be asked to
      • Have certain tests to make sure you are ready
      • Prepare your body (like cleaning) or take certain medications
      • Not eat food or drink fluids for a period of time
      • Have an IV (intravenous line with small plastic tube) through your skin so nurses can give you the appropriate medications and fluid as needed
  • Before EVERY procedure or surgery, your doctor will lead the team in a Safety Check or Time-Out. This is done to make sure that the right procedure is being done on the right patient. Hospitals are busy places, and these types of practices are routine to make sure you are getting what you need. It may seem that they are asking you very obvious things (like your name and the procedure you are having done), but you should pay attention since everyone wants to make sure you will do well.

Kid Wheelchair


  • There are always instructions to follow AFTERWARDS, depending on what type of procedure or surgery you just had. In addition to telling your family and you what to do, nurses usually give written instructions as well, since it's hard to remember everything. These may include
      • When you may resume drinking fluids and eating foods
      • How long you have to stay in bed and when you can start to get up
      • What medications or treatments you have to take and for how long
      • What to watch for and when to let the doctors and nurses know something is happening
      • If you may experience some discomfort and what you should do about it if you do
  • You should follow the instructions as closely as possible to give yourself the best chances for a speedy recovery.

Procedures: Some common ones... more to come

  • Biopsy. A small sample is taken from a problem area to make a diagnosis and see what is going on there.
  • Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap). Sometimes it is important to see collect fluid from around the spinal cord and brain to make sure there is no evidence of infection or other issues. A Lumar Puncture (also known as a Spinal Tap) involves placing a needle into the lower back to obtain CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) for testing and evaluation.

Surgery: Some common ones... more to come


  • Appendectomy. Appendectomy is removal of the appendix. It is usually performed when a patient has appendecitis (inflammation of the appendix, located in the right lower portion of the abdomen). IV antibiotics are also given to fight infection.
  • Inguinal Hernia Repair. A hernia means that something is "sticking out" (a protrusion). The most common type of hernia is called an Inguinal Hernia, related to an opening or weakness (leading to a buldge) in the abdominal wall in the groin area (between the lower abdomen and upper thigh). These types of hernias generally do not go away by themselves but can be repaired surgically.
  • Myringotomy. Myringotomy is a minor surgical procedure involving the placement of small tubes into the eardrum. This can help decrease fluid build-up and pressure behind the ear drum which can result from repeated ear infections (chronic otitis media) and can cause pain.
  • Umbilical Hernia Repair. An Umbilical Hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall near the site of the umbilical cord, leading to bulging and protrusion of intestines or other tissue. It is a common type of hernia that can be fixed with surgery.