A common question for most parents is, ‘how long will it take my child to recover from surgery?’ Surprisingly, kids are far more resilient than adults and recover much better than adults.
While a child may wake up from anesthesia usually pain-free because of infiltration of the operative site with local anesthetic medication (which wears off in 6-8hours), it is usual for most children to have some pain after surgery for a couple of days. Depending on the type of surgery, this duration might be longer. During this period, stronger pain medications may be used in older children, but most children do well with routine over the counter pain medications.
During the recovery period, activity is generally not restricted for children. The pediatric patient is the best judge of what activity is possible. ‘When can my child get back to school?’ Once pain is reasonably under control, which is a few days, most children can get back to school. However gym and sport should be avoided for 2-3 weeks, which is the time taken for wound healing to be complete. Generally children receive absorbable stitches placed in a sub-cuticular fashion (in the deeper layers of the skin) which ensure that stitches do not need to be removed and the cosmetic result is good.
A post operative visit with the surgeon or your child’s pediatrician is customary during the recovery phase at which time satisfactory progress can be confirmed. With the standard precautions that are taken, infection is not common. However, post operative infection may be suggested by high fever and pus discharge from the wound. Additionally, if the patient is not recovering satisfactorily, you should contact the surgical office (631 321 2100) during routine hours and the answering service (631 689 4526) during emergent hours.