Anaesthesia for Children
Anaesthesia in Australia is extremely safe. The Anaesthetist looking after your child is highly trained and will often have a special interest and extra experience in the care of children. Our aim is to provide a safe, comfortable and anxiety free experience for both your child and you.
Preparing Your Child
Children respond well to information about anaesthesia. It is important that their upcoming procedure and admission are clearly explained to them in advance. Encourage them to ask questions.
We know children don’t like being hungry and thirsty, but no food or drink is a must! If you don’t follow this rule the operation may be cancelled or postponed in your child’s best interest. The reason is that when anaesthetised the stomach stops working and the cough and other protective reflexes stop working as well. If there is food or fluid in the stomach it can run back into the mouth and go down into the lungs.
Prior to the surgery you will be given information regarding what you need to do to prepare your child for the operation. This may include:
- Not eating solids or drinking milk for six hours
- Not drinking clear fluid for 2 hours
What Will Happen When We Arrive At The Hospital
You will meet your Anaesthetist prior to the procedure and, if you have not already spoken with your Anaesthetist, you will be asked about your child’s medical history and any relevant family history.
Sometimes children are given a sedative before the procedure if the child is upset or anxious.
If your child has a general anaesthetic it is initiated by either a mask or an intravenous agent.
You will most likely be able to stay with your child until they fall asleep, but discuss this with your Anaesthetist.The Anaesthetist will be in constant attendance, monitoring your child at all times.
After The Surgery
Every anaesthetised patient must spend time in the recovery room after an operation. The nursing staff in the recovery room are specifically trained to look after children who have been anaesthetised. Among other things, the staff ensure that your child:
- Is recovering appropriately from the effects of the anaesthetic agent
- Is not in pain
- Does not require drugs for nausea or vomiting
- Does not have excessive bleeding from the operation site
The recovery room has a number of monitors similar to those in the operating theatre. Sometimes your child will require extra oxygen which is given with a mask to assist them with recovery from the anaesthetic.
What Are The Risks/Complications?
Complications can arise with all surgery and these should be discussed with both your Surgeon and Anaesthetist. They can include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sore Throat