Pediatric Anesthesia Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does my child have to have an IV?

A. 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, for instance, when there is concern over the risk of pulmonary aspiration.  Your anesthesiologist will make that determination when your child is assessed preoperatively.

Q. Is it safe for children to have general anesthesia?

A. Yes, indeed.  The risk of serious complications occurring in otherwise healthy children as a result of exposure to anesthesia is very low.

Q. Will my child suffer from pain or nausea afterwards?

A. 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 the impact of these conditions may be blunted.  If further therapy is needed, it will be addressed during the recovery room stay.

Q. Can I be present while my child goes to sleep?

A. 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 trip to the operating suite.

Q. Do you use advanced pain control methods as are used in adults?

A. Yes, epidurals and caudals are frequently used for postoperative pain control in pediatric patients, usually for surgeries on the abdomen or legs.  Your anesthesiologist can provide you with more details.

Q. Will someone be present to monitor my child continuously?

A. Absolutely!  At least one member of our anesthesia care team is always present "at the head of the table" throughout the operation and will check on your child in the recovery room.  No patient of CAA's is ever left unattended during the course of an anesthetic.

Q. How long will it be until the effects of the anesthesia wear off?

A. By and large, the effects of the anesthetic agents will be dissipated 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.

Q. Is there anything we should be on the lookout for after we get home?

A. 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.