If your child needs pediatric surgery, it’s good to know that Nemours surgeons and specialized teams are skilled in procedures ranging from routine outpatient surgery to complex inpatient surgeries. Pediatric surgeons perform “general surgery” (also called “pediatric surgery”), which means operations for children on areas of the body other than the “brain, bones, and heart.”
We offer a wide range of surgical services in our advanced pediatric surgery center for kids of any age, from newborns to teens. Some of the common pediatric surgeries our board-certified surgeons perform treat conditions and problems like:
- abnormalities or defects: either congenital (present at birth) or acquired (ones that develop over time) including abdominal wall, chest wall, endocrine system (glands), gastrointestinal tract, lungs, head and neck masses
- abscesses, lesions, and burns on the skin and soft tissue
- appendicitis: inflammation of the appendix (a small finger-like organ that's attached to the large intestine in the lower right side of the abdomen and is usually accompanied by fever and pain in the lower abdomen and around the belly button that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation)
- gastrointestinal conditions: such as gastroesophageal reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, and gallbladder disease
- endocrine problems: like thyroid/parathyroid conditions
- hernias: when part of an organ or tissue in the body such as a loop of intestine pushes through an opening or weak spot in a muscle wall
- conditions in infants or newborns — such as pyloric stenosis, intestinal malrotation, intussusception, and necrotizing enterocolitis
- oncology conditions
- obesity: bariatric/lap band surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
In certain cases and at some Nemours locations, our pediatric surgeons are able to offer minimally invasive procedures (including robotic surgery) to diagnose and treat various conditions.
Traditional "open surgery" procedures require larger "open incisions,"
whereas minimally invasive procedures use the patient’s natural openings (like the mouth and throat) or tiny incisions an inch or smaller. And that means shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times, less pain and discomfort, reduced chance of infection and bleeding, and much smaller scars.
For Appointments: (904) 697-3600
- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
- Patient Registration (PDF)
New Patient Forms
- Patient Registration (PDF)
Returning Patient Forms
- Release of Information (PDF)
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- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
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Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
Helpful Information for Surgical Patients
- Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville: located near Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the House is a safe, family-centered home away from home when your child needs to be hospitalized for treatment.
- Parents’ Guide (for Surgery) Wolfson Children’s Hospital
- Preoperative Tours for Patients and Families at Wolfson Children’s Hospital
Pediatric surgery is very different from surgery for adults. That’s why our surgical teams at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, are specially trained in pediatric surgery and pediatric surgical subspecialties. We help children of all ages and sizes — from the smallest newborns just entering the world, to teens on the verge of adulthood.
Here at our clinic, your child can come in for an evaluation, diagnosis, and follow-up care to surgery performed by our board-certified surgeons at our pediatric partner and neighbor, Wolfson Children’s Hospital (ranked among the country’s best hospitals for children by U.S. News & World Report).
Wolfson hospital is one of the many health care providers we’ve partnered with to make it easy for your child to get Nemours’ quality of care. This unique partnership enables us to offer 24-hour emergency, inpatient, and consultative services to the babies, kids, and teens of northeast Florida and southern Georgia.
To give your child the very best treatment, our pediatric surgeons work together as a team with any other specialists that may be involved in your child’s care. We also work closely with the nursing and anesthesiology teams, so everyone involved is well-informed on your child’s behalf. Our goal is to make sure you and your child understand what’s going on every step of the way — and that you’re coping with all of the emotions and stresses you may be feeling.
What We Do: Types of Pediatric Surgery and Procedures
Our pediatric surgeons’ areas of expertise range from gastrointestinal diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease) to tumors (like neuroblastoma), from bariatric surgery (to control obesity) to newborn surgery (to repair defects and treat problems like pyloric stenosis, intestinal malrotation, and necrotizing enterocolitis).
In general, we offer:
- diagnosis and treatment of pediatric surgical conditions
- minimally invasive surgery, when appropriate (surgeries with smaller incisions resulting in faster healing)
Modern technology makes it possible for our highly skilled Nemours pediatric surgeons to perform certain procedures in a “minimally invasive” way. In other words, some operations typically done with “open surgery” (which requires larger “open” incisions) can be performed using the patient’s natural openings (like the mouth and throat) or through tiny incisions an inch or smaller. And that means:
- shorter hospital stays
- quicker recovery times
- less pain and discomfort
- reduced chance of infection and bleeding
- much smaller scars
Minimally invasive procedures can be performed through either:
- Endoscopy, in which a small lighted telescope is passed through a body opening. The scope can be used to examine the inside of the body. Instruments can also be passed through the scope to remove small objects such as kidney stones or to take biopsies (when a piece of tissue is obtained for close examination). So some procedures can be done without any cut at all – and the child can usually be sent home that very same day.
- Laparoscopy, which involves a few half-inch “keyhole” incisions rather than a large open incision, can be used for diagnosis (to figure out what the problem is) and/or treatment (to repair or remove a problem). One small incision is used for a tiny camera, which gives the surgeon a magnified view inside the body. The other incisions are used for inserting surgical instruments. The surgeon also inflates the abdomen with gas in order to see the inside of the body more clearly. Laparoscopy is often called “band-aid surgery” because the incisions are small enough that they can be covered with small bandages after surgery instead of a large dressing.
Basically, whenever you see or hear “oscopy” or “oscopic” at the end of a procedure’s name, it means “use of a scope” and sometimes other instruments to diagnose, inspect, and/or treat a problem.
What to Expect With Pediatric Surgery
If your child needs surgery, you can trust the highly trained pediatric surgical team at Nemours. Our pediatric surgical specialists (surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses), understand what kids need, psychologically, and physically.
Before your child undergoes any type of surgical procedure, you will receive a phone call letting you know what to bring to the hospital, including:
- any medications your child is currently taking
- your ID
- insurance and/or Medicaid cards
- proof of guardianship, if applicable
You’ll complete a medical history form, and be informed about what to expect the day of the surgery, including:
- how your family will be kept updated during the procedure
- when you can expect the doctor to come out and speak with you
- when you can join your child in the recovery room
Prior to surgery, you’ll receive feeding instructions for your child, and we’ll answer any questions you might have.
General feeding/drinking instructions are:
No food, milk, formula, or breast milk may be consumed after midnight the day of the surgery. Your child may only have apple juice, Gatorade, water, or Pedialyte up to four hours prior to scheduled surgery time. These are considered “clear liquids.” We ask that you do not substitute other juices. Special Note: Children 11 months or younger may have breast milk, but only up to six hours prior to surgery.
It is extremely important that these guidelines are followed to the letter. Be sure to follow these instructions so that your child’s surgery won’t need to be postponed or cancelled.
Suggested items to pack for your child:
- empty baby bottle or cup
- special feeding or suction equipment (if needed)
- favorite stuffed animal and/or blanket
- loose-fitting clothes
- eyeglasses (if needed)
Please remove the following items from your child:
- all jewelry – including earrings
- fingernail polish
- hair accessories
- contact lenses
We request that only two adults accompany each child. In order to focus on your child who is having surgery, we ask that other children not come along. Please arrive at the facility at the time instructed so your child’s surgery won’t be delayed or cancelled. We encourage you to allow extra time in your travel plans in case of traffic or unexpected delays.
You’ll be asked to stay in the surgical waiting area while your child is in the operating room. A nurse liaison or a trained volunteer will keep you updated during the procedure. If you need to leave the area for any reason, please inform a staff member.
After surgery, your child’s surgeon will come out to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have. We’ll inform you as soon as you can join your child in the recovery area or “wake up” room.
You should plan to stay in the recovery area for at least one hour. Children must be fully awake prior to discharge. The length of stay after surgery is different for each child. If your child is going to be admitted to the hospital after surgery, you’ll be given instructions ahead of time.
After surgery, your child may experience nausea and/or vomiting. It’s also common to have a flushed face. We’ll give your child clear liquids to drink when he or she is ready.
Once your child is ready for discharge, a nurse will review instructions
with you regarding diet, wound care, medication, activity, and when your
child should return to see the doctor. You may also be given prescriptions for your child.
Have your child rest as much as possible after surgery. Temporary nausea or vomiting is quite common after discharge. But if your child experiences any of the symptoms below, call your surgeon or the nursing staff immediately.
- a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- persistent nausea or vomiting
- severe pain that’s not relieved by prescribed medication
- excessive bleeding from an incision
We’ll also call you the day after your child’s surgery to see how your child is doing and address any questions or concerns. We’re committed to making your child’s surgical visit as pleasant and safe as possible – before, during, and after the procedure.
Whatever kind of pediatric surgery your child needs, know that at
Nemours we do whatever it takes to give your child the very best, most compassionate care possible. We treat every child as we would our own – your child, our promise.