Preparing for Your Child’s Operation
For Appointment: + 44 (0) 207 390 8351
Emergency out of hours: + 44 (0) 207 580 4400
For Appointment:
+ 44 (0) 207 390 8351
Emergency out of hours:
+ 44 (0) 207 580 4400
Preparing for Your Child’s Operation

It is best to discuss the operation with your child before you come to the Hospital. Honesty is definitely the best policy and telling your child they are going to London to go to a special toy shop or similar is not helpful when reality dawns and can cause everyone problems with gaining your child’s trust. Older children may well be aware what is going to happen anyway from the Consultation. Discussing it a few days before in terms your child can understand is fine – there’s no need to discuss it weeks in advance as this just causes needless anxiety. You should focus on why the operation is being done and how it will help as well as on practical details like what toys you will bring in and so on.

You can visit the Portland Hospital wards at the time of your consultation or prior to surgery if you wish and this can be arranged by contacting the Orthopaedic Nurse Specialist or Mr Hills Secretary at the Hospital. If there are particular anxieties like needle phobia please let us know in advance as there may be things we can do to help; the Portland Hospital also employs Play Specialists who can help with pre surgical problems and assist with distraction activities after surgery.

If your child needs a wheelchair post operatively you should discuss this in advance with the Paediatric Physiotherapist or the Nurse Specialist. The hospital does not loan wheelchairs – these need to be hired from specialised companies or the Red Cross in advance. Bring the wheelchair in with you so we can check it and help you learn how to move your child in and out. The Hospital does provide crutches and plaster boots.

Generally speaking very young children and day case surgery is done at the start of the list but sometimes a wait is unavoidable especially for older children or the list order may have to be changed for clinical reasons. We are sorry if your child has to wait. Starvation times are 6 hours for food, including milk, and 4 hour for clear fluids prior to operation.


Most patients are admitted on the day of surgery at about 10 – 11am. You will be advised by letter of the admission arrangements. If you are UK insured please make sure you have advised your Insurance Company of the admission. We admit a few hours early for several reasons. Firstly there are administrative matters to be dealt with by the Hospital, secondly tests may be required such as a blood test and we need time to get the results back before surgery, thirdly we feel its a good idea to settle in a little before going down to theatre and fourthly your child may need to practise their crutches technique!

Please bring with you any medication your child takes regularly

If your child is unwell on the day of the operation or the day before please let us know by phone as soon as possible before coming to the hospital. If the operation is not urgent it may be best to cancel. This may be very inconvenient but its best not to take any risks. The symptoms that might make us cancel would be persistent fever, a productive cough, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The operation

For anaesthetists profiles please see ‘our staff ‘ under my practice tab on home page.

Your child will usually be seen on the ward by Mr Hill and the anaesthetist at about 1:00 pm as surgery starts at 2 pm. This is to deal with any last minute questions, take consent from you and mark the limb as appropriate. Mr Hill usually does his ward round with a physiotherapist and the Nurse Specialist. If you have any questions about pain relief please ask the anaesthetist.

When theatres are ready one or both parents may accompany their child to the operating theatre with a ward nurse. Once your child goes off to sleep you may either return to the ward or wait near the theatres but space for parents is very limited and unless your child is having a very short procedure it is best to return to the ward or go out for a coffee. When the operation is over and your child is in recovery you come down to collect your child with a nurse and your child will be taken back to the ward. It is common for children to be disorientated after an anaesthetic and then go off to sleep on return to the ward. Please avoid the temptation to give them food immediately as they may be sick.

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Meet Our Doctors

The Hungarian Orthopaedic Association has awarded Mr Robert Hill Honorary Membership of the Hungarian Orthopaedic Association in recognition of his contributions to Hungarian Orthopaedics.

Latest publications & Research

Posteromedial bowing of the tibia: a benign condition or a case for limb reconstruction ?
Johnathan Wright, Robert Hill, Deborah Eastwood, Peter Calder, Sally Tennant.
Presented at European Orthopaedic Society Meeting Oslo 2018.

Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Surgery Case Atlas. Pediatric Deformity. Edited by Robert Rozbruch and Reggie Hamdy.
6 Case Studies.
Springer Reference. 2015