What do I need to know if my child needs anesthesia?

Q: What is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist?

A: A Pediatric Anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who has completed a medical residency in Anesthesiology and a specialty fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology or other advanced Pediatric training. All of the Anesthesiologists that we use have completed additional training and testing and are Board Certified Diplomats of the American Board of Anesthesiology. At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children we do not use residents, students or nurses to administer anesthesia.

Q: Does my child need to fast before surgery?

A: Yes. All patients should have empty stomachs prior to surgery to reduce the risk of stomach contents entering the lungs. We understand that asking a young patient not to drink can be difficult. However, for your child’s safety the following guidelines must be followed. Please speak to your surgeon or anesthesiologist prior to the day of surgery if you have any questions. We do try to schedule surgeries according to age to make things safer for our younger patients. If the guidelines are not followed, your child’s surgery will need to be postponed for the safety of your child.

Your child may have:

              -solid foods up to 8 hours before surgery
              -baby formula or milk up to 6 hours before surgery
              -breast milk up to 4 hours before surgery
              -clear liquids (water, pedialyte, apple juice, Gatorade, ) up to 2 hours before surgery
              -nothing after 2 hours before surgery

Q: Can I be with my child when he/she goes to sleep?

A: Every effort will be made to accommodate this request within the rules of the hospital and depending on the type of surgery being performed. Please discuss this issue with your surgeon and anesthesiologist prior to surgery.

Q: How dangerous is anesthesia? How do you monitor my child during surgery?

A: Modern anesthesia usually presents little risk due to advances to drugs, anesthesia techniques and monitoring equipment. The most important monitor is the anesthesiologist and we do not use any other ancillary personnel to monitor your child except for the Board Certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist.

Supplementary electronic monitors include automatic blood pressure measurements, continuous display of EKG, continuous monitoring of the oxygen level in the blood and carbon dioxide in the gas your child breathes. Additional monitoring is performed as needed depending on the type of surgery/procedure your child is having.

Q: When will the drugs wear off? When will my child feel normal again?

A: The effects of the anesthetic agents will diminish long before your child leaves the hospital. Remember, however that the day will have been long and stressful due to the excitement, anxiety, and lack of food and drink. In general, most children will feel better the following day.

It is our objective to minimize any discomfort to your child. Discomfort following surgery can be a result of several factors: the nature of the operation, it’s location, and the child’s response to surgery and anesthesia. We’ll discuss pain control options with you and your child before surgery.

Q: Will there be nausea and vomiting?

A: Some forms of surgery are more likely to result in nausea than others. Some children are more prone to nausea. We will discuss options for nausea prevention and treatment depending on the situation and as needed.

Q: Can we request a specific anesthesiologist?

A: We believe continuity of care is in the best interest of the patient. For this reason, we always attempt to honor requests by patients or surgeons for a specific member of our group whenever possible.

Q: Who will be with my child during the anesthetic and the procedure?

A: One of the trained Pediatric Anesthesiologists will always be with your child in the operating room or procedure room, administering the anesthesia and monitoring the vital signs.

Q: Are the charges for anesthesia included in the surgeon’s bill or the hospital bill?

A: No, anesthesia is a separate professional service. You will receive a separate bill for your anesthesiologist’s professional service that is your responsibility to pay. This is covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies. The anesthesia office is happy to help with and insurance paperwork and will answer any billing or insurance question you may have.

Q: If I have more questions can I call the anesthesia department?

A: Yes,  you may contact the Pediatric Anesthesia Department at 303-830-8229. They are happy to speak with you prior to surgery or afterwards if there are additional questions or concerns. The pediatric anesthesiologists are now part of the Greater Colorado Anesthesia group.