Frequently Asked Questiosn

Pediatric Anesthesia

How will my child go to sleep? Does he/she need an IV?
Typically, an intravenous (IV) catheter is placed in a vein prior to an anesthetic and surgery. This allows medication and fluid administration prior to and during a surgery. For some children, this can be a very unpleasant experience. Therefore, in most cases, we will have your child go to sleep by breathing anesthetic gasses. Once your child is asleep, we will place an IV catheter and proceed with the anesthetic and surgery.
What if my child is anxious or scared?
A few techniques are available to help relieve your child’s anxiety prior to surgery. Most commonly, an oral medication will be given a short time before your child’s surgery. Your child will then stay with you until his or her trip to the operating room. The medication not designed to put your child to sleep, but to relieve some of the anxiety of their trip to surgery.
What if my child has a cold?
This is a very controversial issue in anesthesia. A cold, also known as an upper respiratory tract infection (URI), may increase your child’s risk of respiratory complications during anesthesia and surgery. These complications may be as mild as some wheezing and coughing; to severe as in pneumonia or difficulty breathing. For routine elective surgery, we usually recommend postponement of surgery for some time (usually at least a week or two). If your child has a cold prior to a scheduled surgery, please contact your anesthesia provider or primary care physician.

General vs Regional Anesthesia

What is general anesthesia?
General anesthesia is the complete loss of consciousness during your surgery. Typically this is accomplished with a combination of intravenous (IV) and inhalational (gasses) medication.
What is regional anesthesia?
Regional anesthesia is a term given to anesthesia accomplished by “blocking” nerve impulses with a drug (local anesthetic) before they are sensed or felt by the patient. These nerves can be blocked at multiple locations. A peripheral nerve block is where a nerve is blocked somewhere along its path from the site of surgery prior to entering the spinal cord. An example of this is an “Axillary block” or arm block. An epidural block is where nerves are blocked just before they enter the spinal cord. Local anesthetic is placed in the epidural space (which the nerves must pass through). A spinal block blocks nerves in the spinal canal. All nerves must travel to the spinal canal before traveling to the brain. On occasion, regional anesthesia can be combined with general anesthesia.

Pre-Operative Anesthesia

When Can I Eat?
For any anesthetic, you will be asked to stop eating and drinking for a certain time period prior to your scheduled surgery. This includes ALL solids and ALL liquids. Your anesthetic will be much safer when done with an empty stomach. Our recommendations for adults are that you eat or drink nothing for 8 hours prior to your surgery, except for most medications (which can be taken with sips of plain water).
Should I take my usual medications?
You should have been advised during your pre-operative visit or phone call as to which medications you should take prior to your surgery. Typically, we recommend that you take all your usual medications (except for diabetes and blood thinning medications) the morning of your surgery. These medications may be taken with sips of plain water. Again, the exception to this is diabetes or blood thinning medication. If you are taking these medications, you should have been advised as to recommendations. If you are unsure of what medications to take, please contact your anesthesia provider.
Do I need to have any tests prior to anesthesia?
The need for tests (blood counts, EKG, etc.) prior to your surgery depends on many factors. This will be determined by your age, overall health and type of surgery. This should be discussed with you by your surgeon or primary care provider prior to your surgery.
Is anesthesia safe?
Over the years, anesthesia has become a much safer endeavor. In the recent past, the risks of a serious or life-threatening complication from anesthesia were much higher than they are today. Currently, the risk of death during an anesthetic is thought to be around 1 in 200,000. (Less than from driving a car on the interstate). Although a “risk free” anesthetic can not be guaranteed, your anesthesia professional is a highly trained individual who will constantly monitor your state of health (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, depth of anesthesia, etc.) to provide you with the safest anesthetic possible.
Will the anesthesia professional be present throughout surgery?
Yes, your anesthesia professional will be present throughout surgery.