Patients & Visitors

Preparing for Surgery, Tests & Procedures


We're here for you every step of the way! 

Inpatient surgery at Phoenix Children's Hospital

At Phoenix Children’s, we understand your child’s surgery is a stressful event and can be overwhelming if you don’t know how to prepare or what to expect. Our expert surgeons, nurses and staff will support you and your child through every step of surgery.

As a parent, you play a very important role in preparing your child for what to expect before and after surgery. If your child is well prepared, your entire experience will be better.

 Find a Resource

General Information Important Phone Numbers
Questions Your Child May Ask Tips - Help Prepare Your Child
Preparing for Inpatient Surgery Preparing for Tests and Procedures
Anesthesia Pain Management

 General Information

Locations and Maps

For Outpatient Appointments

For Inpatient Children

Your child may bring a few favorite items to the hospital to help him or her feel more comfortable - a toy, stuffed animal or blanket, for example. Your child can take one item into the operating room.

One parent can spend the night at the bedside.

The Emily Center is a family resource library that has additional information about your child's surgery.

Contact the surgeon's office for the following:

  • If your child becomes sick or develops a cough, runny nose or fever
  • If your child takes medication daily
  • To know what time your child will need to stop eating and drinking before the surgery.

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 Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for Surgery, Tests and Procedures

  • Talk honestly with your child about the surgery, using simple words that can be easily understood.
  • Read a book with your child about going to the hospital.
  • Play "doctor" or "hospital" with your child.
  • Ask your doctor questions.
  • Attend a Inpatient Surgery Preparation Program tour.
  • Watch the video below on preparing your child for anesthesia.

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 Questions Children Ask About Their Hospitalization

Can my mom or dad stay with me?
Yes! One parent can spend the night in the hospital room. There is a shower and laundry facility for them to use while they are here.

How long will I be in the hospital?
This depends on what kind of operation you are having. You will go home as soon as you are well. The doctors and nurses will do everything they can to help you feel better as soon as possible.

What will happen while I am in the hospital?
The doctors and nurses will help you feel better. You may get medicine, have special tests, or take special pictures of your body.

What will I do when I am there?
Phoenix Children's Hospital has a lot for you to do. There are toys, movies, video games, TVs, playrooms, a Teen Room, and school.

What if it hurts?
It is very important to tell your parents or your nurse if you hurt. It is okay to cry if something hurts or frightens you.

Will I feel anything during my operation?
The doctor will give you special sleepy medicine to help you sleep and not feel anything during the operation.

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 Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Surgery Preparation Program

The Surgery Preparation Program will help you and your child become more comfortable with the surgery experience. A Child Life Specialist will take you on a fun tour around the hospital and assist your family in learning about surgery and the hospital at the same time. The tour will take between 30 and 45 minutes and will help to ease your concerns by knowing what to expect. Brothers and sisters are welcome.

Your Pre-surgery Tour Will Offer You:

  • A visit to the admitting office, pre-operative area, playroom, school room, teen room and patient room.
  • An opportunity to ask questions.
  • A chance for children to see and play with medical equipment, encouraging the expression of their feelings about the surgery.

If your child has been scheduled for testing, you are automatically signed up for a pre-surgery tour after the procedure. All other families, please call the Child Life office at 602-933-1540 to schedule a tour.

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Preparing for Procedures

What to Expect in the Diagnostic Imaging & Radiology Department

Patient Disclaimer

Please note: Phoenix Children's Hospital requires that all girls who are 11 years old and older, or younger girls who have started their periods, to be tested for pregnancy before procedures. This is whether the child is in the hospital or is an outpatient. The reason for this is that some procedures can be harmful to a pregnant female or unborn child. To ensure the safety of your child, we do a pregnancy test to provide the safest care possible. Talk your doctor, nurse or medical professional with any questions. If your child is scheduled for an outpatient procedure and the pregnancy test is positive, your child will be referred to her primary care physician for follow up. Thank you for your cooperation.

Download the patient education handout about Pregnancy Testing Before Procedures. (PDF)

When you arrive to the Radiology Department, sign your child name in at the registration desk. Your child's name will be called and our staff will complete the proper paperwork.

Our staff is checking in patients for many areas within the radiology department. Therefore, you may not be checked-in in the order in which you signed-in.

Within the radiology department there are seven different areas of testing. They include CAT scan, EEG, fluoroscopy, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and X-ray. Tests are performed on inpatients, outpatients and emergency room patients.

Sedation or Anesthesia: If your child is scheduled to receive sedation or anesthesia for their procedure today, you have been asked to arrive one to two hours early. This time is used for check-in with our department nurses and doctors prior to your child's procedure.

The radiologists and technologists at Phoenix Children's Hospital are trained and experienced in pediatric procedures, ensuring the special attention children need. We recognize the importance of creating a safe and comfortable environment for children and their families. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment has special pediatric features, and includes a full range of diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology services calibrated for infants, children, adolescents, and adults as needed.

Testing Departments

CT scan

In a CT scan (or Computerized Axial Tomography), a computer uses X-rays to make a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the body. The CT machine is big and looks something like a large doughnut.

Your child will lie on a bed, and the bed will move slowly through the middle of the machine while it takes pictures. Because X-ray is used, pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. The CT scan usually takes 20-30 minutes to complete.
Having a CT Scan at Phoenix Children's Hospital.


An EEG or Electroencephalogram measures the electrical impulses of the brain. EEGs can help doctors gain information if your child has seizures, a brain injury or other brain related issues. For the test, electrodes are placed on your child's head. They look like buttons with a wire attached. The electrodes stay in place on the skin with specialized glue or tape. The EEG usually takes 60-90 minutes to complete.


Fluoroscopy is a type of X-ray that generates video-type pictures. The doctor can watch the organ inside of the body as it works. Many types of exams are performed with the use of fluoroscopy such as an upper GI, barium enema, barium swallow and VCUGs, to name a few. Pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. Fluoroscopy scans usually take 45-60 minutes to complete.
Having a VCUG at Phoenix Children's Hospital


An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is a camera that makes a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the body. The MRI uses magnets to take the pictures, so you and your child will need to remove anything with metal such as jewelry or barrettes before going into the MRI room. Electronic games, cell phones or other devices also cannot go into the MRI room. The MRI usually takes 45-60 minutes to complete.
Having an MRI at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Nuclear Medicine

A nuclear medicine scan uses a camera to take pictures of the inside of the body. It takes pictures of different parts of the body like the heart, kidneys, lungs, bones or liver. A radioactive tracer is given either by an intravenous injection, through a catheter into the bladder or orally ingested. The way that your child will receive the tracer will be determined by the part of their body we are taking pictures of. The scan usually lasts 30-90 minutes.
Having a nuclear medicine scan at Phoenix Children's Hospital


Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. An instrument called a transducer (it looks like a microphone) is rubbed on top of the skin to help create the pictures on a computer screen. Ultrasound usually takes 30 minutes to complete.


X-ray is the most common form of radiology testing. It can be used to look at many parts of the body including the lungs, abdomen and the skeletal system. Pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. X-rays usually take 15-30 minutes to complete.

Please remember that we are checking in patients for many different testing areas within the radiology department. Because of this, you may not be checked in or brought back in the order in which you signed in.

Thank you for your understanding.  If you have any questions, please call our Radiology department at 602-933-1213.

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Phoenix Children's Anesthesiology staff provides a full range of anesthesia services to both inpatients and outpatients at the hospital.

Special Programs and Services - Anesthesia:

  • Consultations with surgeons
  • Perioperative management of pediatric patients, newborns to young adults, including intraoperative anesthesia
  • Postanesthetic care, including airway management
  • Acute and chronic pain management
  • Anesthesia for non-surgical procedures such as bone marrow biopsies and imaging exams including MRI/CT procedures


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 Pain Management

Not every child has pain when they are at Phoenix Children's Hospital. But when they do, we are committed to helping them be as comfortable as possible.

We believe your child when he or she says it hurts. Even if they don't say it in words, there are many ways children say they hurt - and crying is only the start. We make a special effort to see if they are saying "ouch" in other ways too.

Working as a team is the best way to help you and your child feel good about being in the hospital. From the tiniest baby in the nursery to the biggest teenager, we work with you and your child to help him or her feel better. For more information about our Comfort Clinic and pain management techniques, please call 602-262-8900.

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 Important Numbers

The following is a list of important numbers to call for more information about Phoenix Children's Hospital and how we can help:


Child Life

Questions About Surgery

Schedule a Surgery Pre-Admission Tour

Radiology Department

The Emily Center

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