Children need anaesthesia for operations just like adults. They may feel distressed and their parents can feel anxious. Anaesthetists recognise this, and do their best to keep the distress and anxiety down to a minimum. Children may come into hospital on the same day as the operation, unless it is a major surgery. They are seen with their parents by their anaesthetist who may prescribe some premedication medicines if necessary.
When they come to the anaesthetic room in the operating theatre one of the parents will be encouraged to come in with them, to help keep the child calm.

General anaesthesia could be given in the following ways:

1- Most children are put to sleep by breathing anaesthetic gases and oxygen through a facemask. This is done especially if your child fears having an injection.Sometimes especially for emergencies, anaesthetic gases cannot be used, as there may be a risk of vomiting.

2- A plastic cannula (like a plastic straw) is inserted into your child’s hand if the child is cooperative. The anaesthetist will then inject medicines into your child’s veins that will put them to sleep.

Once the child is asleep, the parent will be escorted back to the waiting room.

Occasionally the anaesthetist will ask the parent to leave the anaesthetic room just before starting anaesthesia, as some procedures may be distressing to watch. After the operation, once the child is in the recovery room, parents are allowed to visit the child.

Pain after your child’s surgery

Postoperative pain will be controlled by one or a combination of the following methods:

1- Injecting local anaesthetic to the wound helps reduces your child’s pain after the surgery or regional analgesic techniques will be administered in the OT.

2- Back on the ward, your child has the choices of oral painkillers in tablet or syrup form. Example: Paracetamol and ibuprofen.

3- If your child cannot swallow or might vomit, then the painkiller can be given as suppositories. These are pellets that are placed in your child’s back passage. The pellets will dissolve and enter your child’s body.

4- Painkillers can also be given via injections. The injections are either given into your child’s arm or thigh. OR if your child still has a plastic cannula (plastic tube) in his/ her hand, the painkiller can be given through this.