Anesthesia prevents your child from feeling pain during a surgical or medical procedure or test. Anesthesia can affect the whole body (general), an arm or leg (regional) or a small part of the body (local). General anesthesia relaxes the muscles, puts your child to sleep, and prevents him from feeling pain. It will also prevent him from remembering the operation. The anesthetic may be given intravenously (a slow drip through a needle into the vein, called IV), or as a gas that is inhaled through a breathing mask plus IV medicines.
Follow the instructions you are given by your child's healthcare provider. General diet guidelines before anesthesia include:
If your child complains of being hungry, give him clear liquids until 2 hours before the procedure. It helps to keep him away from other children who are eating. It is important to watch your child carefully to make sure that he does not sneak food.
Ask your provider if your child should take his morning prescription medicines. If your child uses an inhaler or nebulizer, give treatments as usual.
In the recovery room, your child may be on oxygen and have an IV. Nurses will check your child's heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, oxygen reading, and temperature regularly.
Children recover from anesthesia in different ways. Some are wide awake almost immediately. Other children are groggy for hours. Some children are very confused, and may cry and be upset for several minutes to an hour after the procedure. They are not really aware of what is going on. The nurses will make sure that your child is OK and not in pain. Sometimes, a quiet, dark room can help the child go back to sleep. Act calmly, speak softly, and comfort your child. Most children do not remember this even though they may seem to be awake.
Once your child is truly awake, he may start eating. Infants may receive their usual formula or breast-feeding. For older children, it helps to avoid foods high in fat or protein for the first day or so. Anesthesia may cause nausea and vomiting for several hours. Unless otherwise instructed, you may give your child his usual medicines later in the day.
Your child may still be a little sleepy or clumsy for the next 24 hours.
Call your healthcare provider or 911 immediately if: