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Day of Surgery

Pre-anesthetic evaluation:

After registering, you will have a meeting with anesthesia staff to discuss your child’s current health and medical history before anesthesia can be administered. You may also ask questions and/or let staff know about any worries or concerns that you or your child have.

Waiting Room:

  • After the pre-anesthetic evaluation, you and your child will go to an area to wait for surgery.
  • In the waiting room, your child may be given a medicine (called "premedication" or "premed") to help him or her relax before surgery. The premedication is often given in a liquid for your child to drink, but it can also be given in other ways, such as an injection.
  • If your child will receive a premedication and how it will be given will depend on your child’s age (older children and teenagers may be less likely to need a premedication), medical condition and whether there is time for the medicine to work.

Going to the Operating Room

  • Your child may be taken to the operating room on a stretcher or be carried.
  • You may give your child a kiss and tell him that you will see him or her in a little while.
  • Although care is taken to avoid making your child upset, separation may still cause some nervousness or anxiety.
  • Medical staff will take good care of your child!

Anesthesia Induction:

There are three major ways that your child may have anesthesia started (called "induction"):

  • Bymask, where anesthetic gas is given that your child will breathe (usually for smaller and younger children),
  • By an intravenous ("IV") line, with anesthetic medicines (usually for older children) or
  • By an intramuscular (IM) injection, (usually used when a child will not accept the mask or IV)

Your child’s anesthesiologist will decide the best method of anesthesia induction for your child.

Recovery Room:

  • After surgery your child will be taken to the PACU (Post Anesthetic Care Unit or the recovery room) to awaken. One parent or caregiver will be called to the PACU to be with your child, when he awakens. It is often best to have just one person remain with your child throughout the entire time in the recovery room.
  • Your child may be groggy or sleepy from the anesthesia. Sometimes children do not behave like their typical selves when they recover from anesthesia. For example, your child might be fussy, cranky, crying and/or difficult to comfort.
  • If your child will be admitted to the hospital after recovery, he will go directly to a hospital room from the PACU.
  • If your child is going to be discharged following surgery, he will be taken to the outpatient recovery area for about an hour before discharge. Both parents can usually visit in this other recovery area.
  • It is best for your child not to have a lot of family and friends at the hospital to visit your child before he or she is discharged. Your child needs to rest while recovering from anesthesia and surgery!
  • Your child will be discharged when he has recovered from anesthesia.

After Discharge 

  • You will receive written instructions regarding the care of your child at home.
  • On your child’s postoperative care instructions, there will be phone numbers listed for you to call if you have problems, questions or concerns about your child’s health.
Arkansas Children's Hospital
1 Children's Way
Little Rock, AR 72202-3591

Call: 501-364-1100
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