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General Pre-Op for Children With Diabetes


If your child has diabetes, you'll need to take extra care before surgery.

Be sure to tell your doctors and surgeons that your child has diabetes. You may be asked to attend a special appointment before surgery.

You may be asked to check your child's blood sugar more often in the days before and after surgery.

You may be asked to change the doses or time when your child takes their diabetes medicines. These medicines may include:

Short-acting insulin or insulin boluses (if your child uses an insulin pump).
Your child may be asked not to take this on the morning of the surgery.

Long-acting insulin or basal insulin (if your child uses an insulin pump).
Your child may be asked to change the dose or rate on the morning of the surgery.

Your child may need to stop taking it 48 hours before surgery. And they may need to wait another 48 hours to start taking it again.

Diabetes medicines other than insulin.
Your child may need to stop taking them on the morning of the surgery.

Bring your child’s diabetes management supplies, including insulin and items for testing blood sugar, with you on the day of surgery. You may need them.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Contact your child's diabetes doctor and tell them about your child's planned surgery. Ask for help with insulin dosing.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about your child taking or stopping medicines before surgery. This includes over-the-counter medicines.
  • You will get exact instructions about when your child should stop eating before the surgery. It's important for your child to have an empty stomach before surgery. But this can also lead to low blood sugar.
  • Check your child's blood sugar often in the hours before the surgery.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your child's surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to have your child take any medicines on the day of surgery, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow the doctor's instructions about when your child should bathe or shower before the procedure. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
  • Your child may brush their teeth. But tell your child not to swallow any toothpaste or water.
  • Do not let your child wear contact lenses. Bring your child's glasses or contact lens case.
  • Be sure your child has something that's a reminder of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
  • Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make your child sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The anesthesia provider will watch your child's blood sugar level before and during surgery.
  • After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery staff will monitor your child's condition. The doctor will talk to you about the surgery.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for surgery.
  • Your child becomes ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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