Your child will go to the Postanesthesia Care Unit (PACU) after surgery, and the surgeon will update you on how well the surgery went. When you receive a call from the PACU, you may join your child.
Your child will spend one to three nights with us, and we will take care of special dietary needs (general anesthesia may cause an upset stomach).
Before going home, your child must be able to eat and drink without problems, be up walking successfully, have good pain control on oral medicine, and have had a bowel movement.
Before you leave, make sure that a follow-up appointment with the pediatric neurosurgeon is scheduled for approximately 14 days after surgery.
Please refer to any of the following sections if you have concerns once you and your child get home.
Pain. If your child is under 4 years of age, give regular children's Tylenol as directed for pain. Children older than 4 years may go home with a prescription for Oxycodone.
Diet. Once your child is home, they will be on a regular diet. There are some restrictions right after surgery, but since your child will be spending several nights with us, we will restrict the diet as needed during that time.
Wound care. You should wash your child's incision each day with a mild shampoo.
Activity. Your child may resume regular activities gradually upon returning home.
Medication. No medications are prescribed routinely following hydrocephalus surgery. If your child complains of pain at the site of the incision, give Tylenol as directed.
Bathing. Clean the wounds daily with a mild soap or shampoo and rinse with clean water (do not use well water or bath water). A shower is fine if your child typically takes showers. Do not let the wound soak in water, such as a bath tub or swimming pool, until the skin is completely healed.
You child will have a follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon’s office about 14 days after surgery to check the surgical wound check. Further brain imaging (a picture of the size of your child’s ventricles) may be ordered for future comparison weeks after surgery.
If your child becomes ill, this helps determine whether hydrocephalus is the cause of the problem.
Most children return to school or daycare after their sutures are removed, which is done during the follow-up appointment. Watch your child for any signs of hydrocephalus; these would typically be the same symptoms that prompted the surgery. (See Shunt Malfunction for signs of hydrocephalus.)