General Anesthesia and Your Child
One of the most anxiety producing parts of any surgical procedure is the general anesthesia and the apprehension surrounding it. It is natural to be concerned about general anesthesia but, in truth, the chance of having a major anesthetic complication is incredibly small. Nevertheless, I fully understand this concern, and in the following section, hope to help alleviate some of those fears.
Why can't you do the procedure under local anesthesia?
Local anesthesia involves needles and would be more anxiety producing to most children than the mask, which is utilized to initiate anesthesia. In procedures that are performed through the nose and mouth the airway needs to be protected and local anesthesia is not possible. We use a highly skilled group of anesthesiologists in all of the facilities that we operate in and have worked with the majority of them for many years.
When will I have the opportunity to meet the anesthesiologist and can I ask them questions?
To provide the highest level of care there is always a senior anesthesiologist as well as, in some cases, an assistant anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist in the room. I have personally selected all of the anesthesiologists who work with me and have complete trust in them. You will have the opportunity to meet the anesthesiologist the morning of the surgery in order to quell any of the concerns you may have. If you have specific questions prior to your surgery please contact me and my office can refer you to the appropriate anesthesiologist to have your questions answered.
Is it possible to be allergic to anesthesia?
There is always the possibility of being allergic to any medication, though the risk of an allergic reaction to anesthetic agents is rare. As with any allergic reaction, medication can and would be administered. There is a rare condition called malignant hyperthermia that can be genetically transmitted. The anesthesiologist will ask questions about your family history to determine if there is anything suggestive of a severe reaction to anesthesia.
Can a parent be present in the operating room when a child is put to sleep?
Having a parent in the operating room is comforting for a child when he or she is are to sleep. One parent is allowed in the operating room to provide support for your child as he or she goes off to sleep. A child will react a great deal to a parent's emotional state so please try and be as calm as possible when you escort your child to the operating room. This may be difficult, but our primary concern is to make this as low stress a process as possible for your child. Our team will do everything possible to answer any questions you may have prior to the procedure and comfort you and your child as he or she goes off to sleep.
Can I remain in the operating room during the procedure?
Our major concern is the safety of your child. Once your child is asleep we must concentrate on caring for him or her and your presence in the operating room would inhibit us from providing the highest level of care. We hope that your understand our concern and help us to administer the highest level of care possible to your child.
When will I be able to see my child?
You will be called to the recovery room as soon as the procedure is finished. You will be waiting in the recovery room for approximately 10-15 minutes prior to your child being brought to recovery room. Your child will need to be awake enough to be safely transported to the recovery room. Both parents will be allowed to be present in the recovery room but we ask that siblings and other relatives wait until the child leaves the recovery room to visit.
What will my child be like in the recovery room?
Everyone is disoriented when they wake up from anesthesia. As adults, we can rationalize this feeling; children, however, cry. This phase last for approximately half an hour and then most children fall asleep, sleep for half an hour and wake up and feel better. One side effect of anesthesia is that it causes amnesia so neither children nor adults remember much of their time in the recovery room. Nevertheless, as parents, you will remember every minute. Please try to remember this disoriented phase will pass and that your child will remember little of it.