What is Anesthesia?
Frequently Asked Questions
Anesthesia is provided to children and adults so that they will not feel any discomfort during an operation or diagnostic procedure. The most common type of anesthesia is “general anesthesia,” in which the patient is unconscious and cannot feel pain or any other sensation. Other techniques that may be used include “regional anesthesia” (injecting medication near an area of nerves to block the transmission of signals to the brain), and “sedation,” a condition in which the patient is awake but very sleepy.
Who Will Provide the Anesthesia?
The anesthesia will be provided by our specially trained team of physicians called anesthesiologists. The anesthesiologists may be assisted by other members of our anesthesia team, including anesthesiology fellows and residents (physicians training to become anesthesiologists), certified registered nurse anesthetists (registered nurses who have completed additional formal education in the administration of anesthesia) and anesthesia technicians. Members of the anesthesia team are present with your child throughout the surgery or procedure. They not only administer the anesthesia medications, but also continuously monitor your child.
All members of our faculty are board certified or are currently enrolled in the certification process. The majority of our faculty members have completed a fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology. We believe this makes them uniquely prepared to meet the physical, developmental, psychological, and emotional needs of infants, children, and adolescents requiring anesthesia or sedation.
What Information Should I Provide the Medical Staff?
You should provide the medical staff with the following information about your child:
•History of medical problem leading to surgery
•Other medical problems, especially heart or lung related
•Allergies to any medications or foods
•A list of any medications your child has recently taken
•History of previous anesthetics, especially any problems
•History of problems with anesthesia in the family
•Any current illnesses, such as a cold or the flu
What are the Common Side Effects of Anesthesia?
•Pale, puffy, swollen appearance
•Nausea and vomiting
•Congestion and cough
•Skin rashes, swelling, and itching
•Bruising and discomfort at needle sites
•Restless or irritable wake up in which the child may cry, thrash,
arch their back, reach out and seem inconsolable. This is known as
emergence delirium. This may last 10-60 minutes.
How do I Prepare my Child?
•Be honest with your child.
•Reassure them that they will be asleep during the procedure.
•Reassure them that a family member will be them when they wake up.
•Children 8 years and under may have this explained in terms that they will understand. For example, you might tell your four-year old that she will have an operation to “make her tummy better”. It may help to have your child bring one item with them to the hospital for security.
•Children 9 years and older may be given as much detail and information as you think they can handle. Encourage them to ask questions. Help them think of ways to make waiting for surgery easier, such as bringing a book to read or music to listen to through headphones.
Why Can’t My Child Eat Before Their Surgery? (“fasting” or NPO)
Your child’s safety is our primary concern! It is extremely important that you follow the fasting schedule that has been discussed with you. Failure to follow the fasting instructions may result in serious complications or postponement of your procedure.
What Will Happen the Day of Surgery?
Pre-Anesthetic Evaluation: After registering, you will have a meeting with anesthesia staff to discuss your child’s current health and medical history. You may also ask questions and/or let staff know about any worries or concerns that you or your child may have. Waiting Room: After the pre-anesthetic evaluation, you and your child will go to an area to wait for surgery. In the waiting room, your child may be given medicine (called “premedication” or “premed”) to help them relax before surgery.
Going to the Operating Room:
•Your child may be taken to the operating room on a stretcher or in a staff member’s arms.
•You may reassure your child. (For example, you might give them a kiss and tell them that you will see them in a little while.
•Although care is taken to avoid upsetting our patients, separation may still cause anxiety.
•The medical staff will take good care of your child.
There are three ways that your child may have anesthesia started (called induction):
•By mask, where anesthetic gas is given that your child will breathe
•By an intravenous (“IV”) line, with anesthetic medicines
•By an intramuscular (“IM”) injection
•After surgery, your child will be taken to the PACU (Post Anesthetic Care Unit or recovery room) to awaken. One caregiver will be called to the PACU to be with your child when he or she awakens. It is best to remain with the child throughout their time in the recovery room.
•Sometimes children do not behave like their typical selves when they recover from anesthesia. Your child might be groggy, sleepy, fussy, cranky, crying, and/or difficult to comfort.
•If your child will be admitted to the hospital after recovery, he or she will go directly to a hospital room.
•If your child is going home following surgery, he or she will be taken to the outpatient recovery area for about an hour before discharge. Both parents can visit in this recovery area.
•It is best to limit the amount of family and friends at the hospital. Your child needs to rest while recovering from anesthesia and surgery.
•You will receive written instructions regarding the care of your child at home. Call the phone numbers listed if you have problems, questions or concerns about your child’s health.
What should I do if my child becomes sick before surgery?
If you believe your child may be sick before surgery, please contact the ambulatory surgery center and your child’s primary care physician.
How can I help ensure that my child’s surgery will be completed smoothly and safely?
•Arrive at your child’s scheduled appointment on time.
•Follow all instructions carefully. Ask if you don’t understand.
•Remember that emergencies or other uncontrollable factors may result in unexpected delays.
•Take care of yourself. Do not fast with your child – get up early and eat a good breakfast so that you are physically ready to the provide necessary support.
1 Children’s Way, Slot 203
Little Rock, Arkansas