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Having Anesthesia

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What is anesthesia?

Your child needs special medications, called anesthetics, so he/she will not feel pain during surgery and/or other medical procedures. There are two types of anesthetics, local and general. Local anesthesia is used to numb either a small area or a body part such as an arm or leg. General anesthesia is given through a flavored mask or through a vein. These medications work quickly and cause the whole body to lose feeling. Your child may feel warm all over, dizzy, or may have a floating feeling as he/she goes into a special sleep.

How long does anesthesia last?

Local anesthesia may last for one to six hours after it is given. This depends on the type that is used. General anesthesia lasts as long as the surgery or medical procedure.

What to expect after local anesthesia:

  • Your child may have numbness and/or tingling in the area the local was placed.
  • Your child may have weakness and/or numbness of his/her legs if a type of anesthesia called a caudal was done.

What to expect after general anesthesia:

  • Your child may be a little sleepy for several hours.
  • Your child may have some nausea and vomiting.
  • Your child may be a little unsteady on his/her feet.
  • Your child may have a flushed red face for awhile. This is normal. It can be caused by some medications used during surgery.

When to call your child's doctor:

Call if your child has vomiting that lasts more than six hours or if the vomiting is severe.

A child can become dehydrated when he/she is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the losses. The signs of dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Less urine (infants& toddlers have fewer wet diapers than normal)
  • No tears when crying
  • Sunken look around eyes

Call if your child's rectal or oral temperature is greater than 101.5 degrees F. Slightly increased temperature after surgery is normal. If your child goes home today, take his/her temperature once before bedtime tonight.

Remember: Please call if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 04/2008

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