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Common Questions about Pediatric Anesthesia

Here are some of the most common questions about Pediatric Anesthesia

Does my child need an IV?
Most often, yes, but it is usually done after the child is asleep from inhaled anesthesia gases. Occasionally it may be necessary to have the IV in place prior to going to sleep. Your anesthesiologist will discuss this with you and make that determination when your child is assessed preoperatively.
My child has a cold. Should we postpone surgery?
Otherwise healthy children with a simple cold, clear mucus and the absence of fever may often undergo anesthesia. A child having a severe upper respiratory infection accompanied with colored mucus, fever greater than 100.4F, and a change in activity level, demeanor or feeding may need to postpone their procedure. The decision to postpone a surgery is made on a case-to-case basis by a mutual discussion with our team, your family, and the surgeon.
How long should my child not eat prior to surgery?
Clear liquids such as water and juice should not be consumed within 2 hours of having surgery. Breast milk should not be consumed 4 hours before surgery. Infant formula should not be consumed 6 hours before surgery. Solid foods are stopped 8 hours before surgery. The purpose of fasting is to prevent lung complications during anesthesia.
I have heard in the news that general anesthesia is unsafe for children. Is this true?
No. According to both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and American Academy of Pediatrics, studies on the effects of sedation and general anesthesia on children are inconclusive. Children undergo surgery that is essential for their health and postponing these procedures in an effort to prevent anesthetic exposure is usually not an option. Our anesthesia team is present throughout the entire procedure to ensure your child is constantly monitored. Their health and safety is our highest priority.
Will my child suffer from pain or nausea afterwards?
Pain and postoperative nausea may occur to varying degrees after many types of surgery; however, in most cases, these effects can be foreseen and appropriate medications can be given while the child is asleep so that pain and nausea is minimal. If further therapy is needed, it will be addressed during the recovery room stay.
Can I be present while my child goes to sleep?
This is not generally possible due to a variety of reasons related to hospital policy, safety concerns, and logistical considerations. If your young child fears separation then medication is available, at the discretion of the anesthesiologist, which can facilitate a peaceful transition to the operating suite.
Do you use advanced pain control methods similar to those used in adults?
To maximize your child’s comfort, we may use a variety of pain control methods that are similar to those used in adults. Our physicians are also trained in performing peripheral nerve blocks in children for surgeries on the arms and legs. Occasionally a home catheter and pump is employed for multiple days of pain relief. Your child’s anesthesiologist will discuss all of these possibilities with you prior to surgery. Because every case is unique, we will tailor your child’s anesthetic plan to their specific needs.
Will someone be present to monitor my child continuously?
Absolutely! At least one member of our anesthesia care team is always present “at the head of the table” throughout the entire operation and will consistently check on your child when he or she reaches the recovery room. No patient is ever left unattended during the course of an anesthetic.
How long will it be until the effects of the anesthesia wear off?
By and large, the effects of the anesthetic agents will be gone before the child is discharged from the recovery room. However, there may be a lingering effect from pain medications given during or after surgery. Usually these medications have a time span in the range of three to four hours.
Is there anything we should be on the lookout for after we get home?
Not as a routine. The anesthesiologist will not discharge the patient from recovery room until he or she has determined that further observation for anesthesia-related complications is not warranted. Your child’s surgeon may have additional instructions for home care.

For more infomation, please visit our Anesthesia Services section.


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