NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

Center for Community Health

Preparing Your Teen for Surgery

Plan to begin preparing your teen one to two weeks before his or her procedure. This will give them enough time to learn about the procedure and process the information. Most teens appreciate being an active-participant in the decision-making process, but you know your child best. Please use this information as a guideline.

How can I help prepare my teen?

  • Be a partner with your teenager. Gather information and learn together. There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet, be sure to help guide your teen to appropriate websites.
  • Give concrete and truthful information about the surgery, including what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
  • Ensure that your teen understands why they need surgery – what is happening with their body that needs to be fixed.
  • Encourage your teen to explain what they think is going to happen and make sure they feel comfortable to ask questions./li>
  • Understand your teen’s fears. Most teens are worried about changes to their body, will the surgery change the way they look? Is it permanent? Is there something wrong with me?
  • Respect your teen’s feelings. It is important to give them space as your teen’s feelings about the surgery may change from day to day. Validate their feelings and let them know you will be there to support them no matter what.

What can I do to help my teen cope at the hospital?

  • Be patient and supportive. Your teen is bound to have many feelings and fears on the day of surgery.
  • Encourage your child to write down questions before your visit and have them ask the doctor or nurses when you arrive.
  • Do not be afraid to let the staff know if your teen is anxious and may need extra support.
  • Encourage your teen to bring items from home. Things such as a phone, tablet, book, games, headphones or whatever brings your teen comfort may help them cope better with their surgery.