FAQ’s Pediatric anesthesia
Will my child need an IV catheter? Unlike adults, most children under the age of 10 may be safely put to sleep (or “induced”) with a simple oxygen mask and a pleasant smelling anesthetic gas. For some procedures (such as ear tubes and nasolacrimal duct probing) the IV catheter is not required but available if we feel that your child would benefit from fluid or IV medications. For most other procedures, the IV is placed (usually in the hand or foot) after your child is completely asleep. The IV must remain in place after surgery to ensure the child’s safety and give us the ability to administer medications if needed for pain or nausea.
Can I be with my child as he or she is put to sleep? There is a lot of controversy regarding the benefits and dangers of this practice. The policy at all of our surgery centers is that parents may be with their child right up until the time that he or she is taken to the actual operating room. For many procedures, an oral anxiolytic (known as midazolam) may be given 15-30 minutes prior to surgery. This medicine is not effective for every child, but for most children it will reduce their anxiety and cloud the memory of being taken into the operating room.
Will my child have pain or nausea after his or her procedure? Children may have nausea associated with general anesthesia just like adults. Your anesthesia team may provide medications to prevent nausea, as needed, although these medications may not always be effective. For surgical procedures that are associated with pain during the recovery period, our goal is to provide the appropriate medications during the procedure so that the child will wake up gradually and comfortably. Occasionally, additional IV pain medications may be given in the recovery room. Frequently, for children given a prescription for pain medications at home, we will provide the first dose of this medication before leaving the secondary recovery room.
When will I be able to see my child after surgery? After general anesthesia, your child will usually be in the primary recovery room for 15-30 minutes, or until the doctors and nurses are comfortable that the effect of the anesthesia is wearing off as it should and that your child’s vital signs are stable. If your child is going home, he or she will be brought to a secondary recovery room where you can spend time with your child under the nurse’s supervision until the time of discharge.