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Minor orthopedic procedures


Minor orthopedic procedures

Day of admission

Your child is having an orthopaedic surgical procedure. Please take the time to read the following information and ask the nurses or your doctor if you have any questions.

How long will it take?

Most minor orthopaedic operations take about 45 minutes to one hour. This includes the anaesthetic, operation and time spent in the recovery room. After coming out of the operating theatre, your child will usually stay two to six hours, or overnight in hospital, as advised by your doctor. One parent is encouraged to stay the night to support and comfort your child.

When can my child eat and drink again?

If your child is awake on return to the ward, they can have clear fluids immediately (breast fed babies can have a breast feed). A light diet will be offered when fully awake.

Care at home

Pain relief

  • Have a supply of paracetamol at home. It can be given as per the instructions on the product packaging for the first three to five days after the operation to relieve pain or discomfort.
  • Give other pain relief medicine if advised.
  • Do not give aspirin two weeks before or after the operation. If your child is taking aspirin as a regular prescribed medication, please consult with your surgeon or anaesthetist, ideally at least two weeks prior to your planned surgery. Aspirin is not appropriate for pain relief in children.

Diet and fluids

Your child may eat and drink when feeling well.


It is not uncommon for children to vomit on the night of the operation. If your child is vomiting, give sips of clear fluids, try a piece of dry toast or a cracker biscuit and increase the amounts as tolerated until the vomiting settles. If vomiting continues after 24 hours seek medical advice.


If your child has a plastic dressing they can bath or shower after 24 hours. If they have a white dressing this must be kept dry so sponge bath only. Remove dressing as advised by your doctor.


If your child has a plaster cast, do not allow it to get wet. The plaster will become soft and weak if allowed to get wet. When showering or bathing, cover the cast with a tea towel then a plastic bag sealed with sticky tape to stop water getting into the plaster. Do not go swimming.

Points to remember

  • Minor surgeries usually require admission for the day only. You will be advised of a longer stay by your doctor if required.
  • If your child has a plaster cast, all sport should be avoided.
  • Please ask the doctor when your child can return to school and sport.
  • If your child has excess vomiting, persistent high temperatures or excessive pain not relieved by paracetamol, take them to your GP or closest hospital that treats children.
  • If you are concerned about the operation site, please contact your local GP.

Follow up visit

A follow up appointment will usually be made for your child prior to discharge. This appointment is usually one or two weeks after the operation. An x-ray may be taken just before attending. This will be organised for your child if it is required.

If your child has a cast remember:

  • elevate the arm or leg
  • keep the fingers or toes moving constantly
  • do not push any objects under the cast (even for itchiness)
  • do not wet the plaster
  • do not cut the plaster
  • offer pain relief as required.

Come to your nearest hospital that treats children if:

  • fingers or toes swell excessively
  • fingers or toes go blue or white
  • fingers or toes become very cold
  • child feels pins and needles or numbness in their fingers or toes
  • the arm or leg becomes painful.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470025
Last modified 28/4/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 01/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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