Understanding Anesthesia

Not only is it important to know about your child’s condition or illness, you may also want to know a few things about anesthesia.

Before your operation, you and your child will have a chance to meet with the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist is the doctor who specializes in giving anesthetics, the medications that will help your child go into a deep sleep or numb an area of the body so he doesn’t feel anything during surgery.

There are three main categories of anesthesia: general, regional and local. These can be administered in different ways and your anesthesiologist will discuss, in detail, the type of anesthetic to be used, based on the surgery or procedure your child is to have.
Once anesthesia has worn off and your child is fully awake, he will be taken to the hospital room best suited for his care. If your child is having an outpatient procedure, he will be monitored by nurses in another room until discharge.

Children react differently to anesthesia than adults. The following are some side effects to be aware of:

  • Itching
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Unsteady gait  
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Irritability/agitation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety or feeling frightened
  • Sore throat and/or hoarseness

These side effects are not serious and will go away within a few hours to a few days. You can prepare your child for these effects by saying something like, “You may wake up feeling a little funny but that’s okay. Someone will be with you to take care of you.”