7 Tips to Ease Stress for Teens Having Surgery


Summer is a popular time for teens to have surgery, especially for procedures that are not urgent and can be done during vacation when they have extra time to recover. We asked Emerson’s child life team for their best tips to support teens having surgery. Keep these in mind if you know a friend, neighbor, or loved one who might benefit from them.

  • Provide details about what your teen can expect before, during, and after their procedure.
  • The most important thing for teens to know is that they will be safe during their hospital experience, and their privacy will be respected.
  • Include the teen in discussions and decisions about their care.
  • Teens are encouraged to advocate for themselves and to write down any questions they may have for their surgeon.
  • If they are in pain, it is okay to ask for pain medicine — only they know how they feel.
  • They can ask a nurse for numbing cream to help reduce pain during needle pokes.
  • Recommend they bring items to the hospital that can help them relax, like music or a favorite book. They might also want to put their pillow or blanket in the car for comfort on the trip home.

For tips to help children of all ages prepare for surgery, and information about Emerson’s child life team, visit our page Preparing for Your Child's Surgery.