We understand that going through a surgical procedure can be unsettling for children and their families. The idea that your child will be sedated for a medical procedure may be unnerving and stressful for you. We want to assure you that your child will be in experienced and caring hands. We will do everything possible to comfort you and your family during this experience.
We have a dynamic and dedicated pediatric anesthesia team. We have recruited physicians who have completed specialty training in pediatric care, including pediatric fellowships, which makes them uniquely qualified to care for your most precious possession—your children. Our highly trained anesthesiologists vigilantly care for your child with the safest medications and modern medical equipment available today. We are dedicated to comforting your child and ensuring their safety to the highest standards throughout the operative process.
When can I speak with the anesthesiologist that will be caring for my child?
Because we believe that it is important for you to have the opportunity to talk with the provider that will be caring for your child, we will make every attempt to contact you the night before your child’s surgery to assure your questions and concerns are answered.
How can I prepare my child for surgery?
You can help your child prepare for their anesthesia by introducing them to the idea of surgery and discussing the upcoming events. Depending on their developmental level, they may have different fears, including separation anxiety, fear of losing a limb, fear of IV placement and needles, fear of waking up during surgery or pain after surgery. You may reassure your child by explaining that an anesthesia doctor will give them special medicine to have a deep sleep during the operation so that they will not feel anything. A child’s anxiety is often minimized when parents discuss their fears in a calm and supporting manner.
When should my child stop eating and drinking before their procedure?
- General Guidelines: If the scheduled surgery time is prior to 8:00am, no solid foods for a full 8 hours
- Solid foods include: gum, candy, mints and non-clear liquids (such as orange or carrot juice, broth, cow’s milk or formula)
- Clear liquids include: water, Sprite or 7-Up, apple or cranberry juice, coffee or tea (without cream or milk) and Pedialyte
Depending on the procedure type and scheduled time of your child’s surgery, your surgeon may change these times. The goal of these guidelines is to help ensure your child’s stomach is empty at the time of the procedure.
If your child eats or drinks too close to the time of the procedure, it is possible the procedure will have to be re-scheduled for safety reasons.
Can I be with my child as they are given anesthesia?
You will meet your child’s anesthesiologist on the morning of surgery. Depending on your child’s age and type of surgery, one parent may be invited to the operating room for induction of anesthesia (providing medicines in which your child will become very sleepy and lose consciousness). Often this is done by giving the child inhalational anesthetic gas by facemask prior to IV placement. Immediately after your child is asleep, you will be escorted out of the OR for the remainder of surgery. The anesthesiologist who cares for your child will remain with them throughout surgery and the immediate postoperative period to ensure their comfort and safety.
Are the risks different between children and adults?
Respiratory complications are more frequent in the pediatric population, while injury to the nervous system is more common in adults. In experienced hands, the risk of anesthesia in children is very low.
How will my child go to sleep?
The age and maturity of your child will aid in the decision about how he/she will go to sleep. With younger children, the most frequent type of induction (putting one to sleep) is inhalation. Inhalation induction allows the child to breathe themselves off to sleep with oxygen, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and anesthesia gas. The older child will often choose an IV because it is a faster way to go to sleep. If the older child is afraid of the IV sleep, or needles, an inhalation induction is an option.
What will you do if my child is anxious before surgery?
Medications are available that will sedate your child prior to the start of the anesthetic. These medications are similar to Valium® but are shorter acting. These medications can be given either by mouth or through an IV. In some institutions, induction rooms are available for the child to be with their parents while going off to sleep. Your anesthesiologist will decide what is the best for your child after discussion with you. A vast majority of children do not require anything other than a wagon to ride in and a hand to hold.
Please Note: The information provided on this website does not take the place of consultation with one’s physician. The advice given does not establish a physician-patient relationship.