your child needs an operation, you often have extra concerns. This
section will attempt to answer some of the most common questions
about pediatric anesthesia.
All of our anesthesiologists
have been trained in pediatric anesthesia, and several of our physicians
have additional specialized training and interest. We recognize
the unique needs of children and are prepared to help them, and
you, to be comfortable and relaxed during your child's visit and
During your pre-anesthesia
interview, we assess not only your child's health but also their
maturity. We will discuss with you, and when appropriate with your
child, the options available. Frequently, we do not need to do pre-operative
blood testing on healthy children.
You will receive
instructions about pre-operative eating and drinking at the pre-anesthesia
interview at Reading Hospital, or by telephone from the Surgery
bring a soft toy or favorite blanket with them the day of their
are concerned about whether they will get a "shot" on the
day of surgery. Some children are sufficiently relaxed about surgery
that no pre-anesthetic medication needs to be given, especially for
short operations and at Surgery Centers. For those children who do
need pre-anesthetic medication, this can often be administered orally.
If a child cannot or prefers not to take oral medication, injections
can be ordered. The advantages and disadvantages of each are:
no pre-anesthetic medication avoids a "shot" but the
child will be fully awake going into the operating room - the
child often wakes up more rapidly after their operation - this
works well if the child and parents are comfortable with this
- oral pre-anesthetic
medication also avoids a "shot" and usually provides
excellent sedation and separation from parents, but may make the
child more sleepy or irritable in the post-anesthesia care area
- this is a common option for younger children
pre-anesthetic medication works quickly, usually provides excellent
sedation and wears off more quickly, but it is a "shot"
- some older children prefer this option
Your child will
then come to the operating room. At this time, we will ask you to
wait in the waiting room. We believe not having parents present
for the actual anesthesia allows our staff to concentrate fully
on your child.
Once in the
operating room, we apply monitoring devices and then begin anesthesia.
In most young children, this will be accomplished by having the
child breathe some "magic air" through a clear mask. It
usually takes only a couple of minutes to fall asleep. Except for
a few procedures, we then start an IV which will be present when
the child awakens.
Some older children
prefer to receive IV medication rather than breathe through the
mask. We commonly apply a local anesthetic cream to the child's
hands or inject local anesthesia to numb the area where the IV will
the operation, we may need to insert a breathing device while the
child is asleep. This may cause a scratchy throat or cough after
Once the operation
is complete, the anesthetic medications will be stopped and your
child will begin to wake up. When we move to the post-anesthetic
area, one parent of any pre-teen child will be called so that you
can stay with your child.
After your child
is safely awake and comfortable, discharge preparations will begin.
We will offer your child liquids to drink and provide parents with
written post-operative instructions. Please
feel free to ask any questions you may have before leaving for home.
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