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Kids Doctor Checkup

pediatric anesthesia

Though a parent can not be present with their child during surgery, there is no safer place to be than under the watchful one-on-one care our physician anesthesiologists provide for every child - for every surgery. With medications, equipment and techniques geared for the pediatric population at our disposal, your TAA anesthesiologist is prepared to provide the highest quality care for every child. 


Guiding your child through surgery safely and comfortably is our priority. Your child’s anesthesia care will be personally provided by one of our physicians. Although you may have received a phone call or had a preoperative anesthesia appointment, you will also meet your child’s anesthesiologist prior to surgery.


For those children that require specialized care, our board certified pediatric anesthesiologists who have dedicated their training exclusively to the specialized care of children, take on the most complex of pediatric surgeries.  

How do I talk to my child about anesthesia? 

Nothing calms a child better than a confident parent. Whether your child is scheduled for a minor or major surgery, your support is of utmost importance. Your reassurance about the surgery and the anesthesia, will improve the entire experience for you and for your child. 

A child at any age, will want to know where you will be during and after the surgery. Let them know that you will be nearby in the waiting area during the surgery, and will see them soon after they recover. Explain to your child in age appropriate language, that anesthesia prevents them from feeling any pain during the surgery, and from remembering anything. Depending on the child, it might also be helpful to warn them that they may feel sleepy, confused, nauseated, or just a little weird and not quite themselves for a period of time after surgery. Feeling that way is all normal and expected. 

Preoperative Instructions

​If you receive a phone call the day before surgery with instructions about when to stop eating and drinking, please follow those specific directions. The instructions are for your child's safety. These instructions are provided to prevent food from the stomach interfering with breathing during anesthesia. 

What happens once my child goes to the operating room?

General Anesthesia makes your child completely unaware of their surroundings and the pain of surgery. For newborns, infants, and children up to the pre-teen adolescents, this commonly involves letting them breathe themselves to sleep, usually after receiving medications that will relax them and minimize anxiety. After they are asleep, they will usually have an IV placed and a breathing tube or airway inserted to protect their breathing during surgery. Older children and teens frequently have an IV placed before surgery, which allows for a smooth, easy start of anesthesia with IV medicines


Will my child receive a “shot”?

Some older children, or children with specific needs, will require intravenous (IV) access prior to going to the operating room. We will do our best to make this process tolerable – with medications to numb the area, and/or relaxing medication for your child. If needed, this will be discussed with you in the preoperative holding area. 

What are the risks to your child?

All surgery and anesthesia involve some degree of risk. The type of surgery and your child’s medical condition are important factors that determine their level of risk. Your anesthesiologist carefully considers these risks when tailoring and recommending their anesthetic plan. He or she will continually monitor your child while they are under anesthesia to ensure that your child is safe and that they receive appropriate doses of anesthetics.


What are common side effects?

As with all medicines, anesthetics have side effects. Common side effects of general anesthesia in children may include sleepiness, irritability/fussiness, nausea (“sick stomach”) or vomiting, and a sore throat from airway devices. Nausea can be reduced in many cases by anti-nausea medicines that your child will receive during and after surgery. If your child has a history of nausea after surgery, car sickness, or has a close relative with a history of nausea after surgery, please tell your anesthesiologist so they can tailor their care to minimize it.


Where can I learn more?

Please click here for more information about what to expect the day of surgery at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.


Click here to learn more about current research in pediatric anesthesiology. Smart Tots is a collaborative effort of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), the FDA, and many others who are working to make anesthesia safer for infants and children.

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