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Pediatric Anesthesia

The idea of your child having surgery can be a very scary thing, but here at Tanner Health System, we are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for our pediatric patients and their families.

The Pre-surgical Care Center Experience

Once your child’s surgery is scheduled, one of our experienced pre-surgical nurses will conduct a preoperative interview. This may be done in person at the hospital (or an on-campus Pre-surgical Care Center) where you will have your surgery, or it may be done through a telephone interview at your convenience. At this time, the nurse will gather information about your child’s medical history. He or she will review vaccination status, allergy history and current medications taken by your child. He or she will ask about prior surgical history; it is important to know how your child tolerated any previous surgeries. It is also important to know if any immediate family members have had any problems with anesthesia.

Please tell the preoperative nurses about any chronic medical conditions that your child may have, such as asthma or reflux. The nurse will give you specific instructions about which medications to take on the morning of surgery. Please follow all instructions given during the preoperative visit.

Prior to the Morning of Surgery

Why does my child have to stop eating before surgery?

It is very important that we keep your child’s stomach as empty as possible prior to surgery to minimize the risk of aspiration and other serious complications during and after the procedure. Remember to restrict access to any snacks, juice and water overnight.

  • Do not allow your child to eat, chew or swallow any solid food (this includes gum, mints and candy) after midnight before the procedure.
  • Do not allow your child to drink any nonhuman milk for at least six hours before the procedure.
  • Do not allow your child to drink any infant formula for at least six hours before the procedure.
  • Do not allow your child to drink any breast milk for at least four hours before the procedure.
  • Do not allow your child to drink any clear liquids (4 ounces water, juice without pulp) for at least two hours before the procedure.

What should I bring the morning of surgery?

Refer to the list given to you during the preoperative interview that reviews which medications your child is allowed to take (with a sip of water) the morning of their surgery. If your child uses a nebulizer machine or an inhaler, please give him or her a breathing treatment the morning of the surgery. Also bring his or her inhaler with you to the hospital. Hospitals can be scary for little ones, so we encourage parents to bring comfort items (stuffed animals, blankets, pacifiers, etc.) to help keep them calm during this experience. The parents of infants and babies may want to bring a preferred formula or juice to be given after the procedure.

What do I do if my child has a cold?

Children having ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery will often have a mild upper respiratory infection and may even be taking antibiotics prescribed by their ENT surgeon. Mild symptoms may include slight runny nose, nasal congestion and a dry cough. On the day of the surgery, your anesthesia provider and the surgeon will evaluate your child’s symptoms and, depending on the type of surgery, will decide whether or not it is safe to continue or postpone the procedure. If the child’s symptoms are more severe and the child has a fever, new wheezing or trouble feeding, please call your surgeon’s office prior to the procedure so that your child may be evaluated.

Surgery Day Experience

When you arrive at the hospital, a Short Stay Unit (SSU) nurse will check your child’s height and weight and escort him or her to a private room to check vital signs. Next, you will meet a member of the anesthesia team that will care for your child during the procedure. He or she will review your child’s medical history and explain the anesthetic plan for your child. The anesthesiologist may offer your child a liquid medicine to drink to help with pain and relaxation. While in this SSU room, you will also see your surgeon and have the opportunity to ask any last minute questions about the procedure.

Once the child is in the operating room, he or she will often receive anesthetic gases to help him or her go to sleep before any IV is placed. Some children will not need an IV and will require only the anesthetic gases. Older children and teens, however, may require an IV to be placed prior to the beginning of anesthesia. The surgeon, anesthesia team and surgical nurses will be with your child the entire time he or she are in surgery.

At the conclusion of the procedure, your child will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for approximately 30 minutes while he or she recovers from the anesthesia. It is very common for children to initially wake up agitated or confused after having had anesthesia. Parental comfort and pain medicine given by SSU nurses will help to minimize any distress that your child may have. Prior to discharge, parents will be given strict instructions regarding prescribed pain medications, dietary concerns and follow-up appointments with the surgeon.

At Tanner Health System, our team of highly trained professionals work hard to ensure that your child is stable and as comfortable as possible before, during and after his or her surgical procedure.

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