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Pediatric Anesthesiology FAQ

What is a pediatric anesthesiologist? 

A pediatric anesthesiologist is a doctor who has trained and specialized in both anesthesiology and pediatric anesthesiology. Some members of Brenner’s pediatric anesthesiology team have additional specialized training in pediatric anesthesia for patients with congenital heart defects. 

How do you provide pain management? 

We work closely with doctors and other health care professionals in every medical specialty at Brenner to provide specific, customized pain management for children of all ages. We use pain protocols, or specific ways of managing pain in children, to ensure your child is kept comfortable before, during and after surgery. 

Can we meet our pediatric anesthesiology team before any surgical procedure? 

Absolutely. Before a surgical procedure begins, we meet with you and your child to discuss his or her customized pain management plan. We are present during your child’s surgical procedure, continue to monitor him or her throughout the recovery period and are in constant communication with all other members of your child’s health care team. 

What are the different types of anesthesia? 

There are three main types of anesthesia treatments: local, regional and general anesthesia. We develop an anesthetic plan for each patient that incorporates his or her medical and emotional needs, as well as the needs of the surgical procedure. Typically, most newborns, infants, young children and adolescents receive general anesthesia for surgical procedures. Some may receive sedation for radiological imaging or minor procedures. If a great deal of post-operative pain is anticipated, continued local anesthesia may be utilized. 

What happens after surgery? 

After surgery, your child should emerge from anesthesia in a comfortable environment. The time this takes will depend on the surgical procedure and your child’s specific anesthetic needs. Shortly after your child awakens, you will be reunited with him or her. During the recovery period, our pediatric anesthesiologists will work closely with your child’s surgeon to ensure we provide the most appropriate and effective pain management strategy. 

What is an IV? 

IV is short for intravenous catheter, which is a small tube inserted into a vein for the delivery of medicines that treat pain, anxiety and nausea. IVs are also used to give antibiotics and life-saving medicines to critically ill children. 

What is a PCA machine? 

A PCA machine is a patient-controlled analgesia device. This device allows a patient to press a button when he or she feels pain to deliver an appropriate dose of pain medication through an IV. A PCA machine may be used to maximize pain control, while minimizing risk for your child. 

What are the steps I need to take to prepare my child for surgery? 

Being there for your child before, during and after surgery is the most important thing you can do to help him or her. Surgery can be a very stressful time; your support helps your child maintain the highest level of emotional health. You may also want to do the following to prepare your child for surgery: 

  • Make a list of questions about your child’s diagnosis and treatment and bring that list to your appointments with your doctor. 
  • Bring some of your child’s favorite things with you for his or her stay at Brenner. Those comfort items might include family photos, books, favorite toys or stuffed animals, music and a portable music player or a laptop computer. 
  • You should also bring things to help you during your child’s period of stay at Brenner. It’s important that you also maintain optimal physical and emotional health during your child’s surgery and post-operative treatment. 

We offer a range of support services for patients and their families. Please ask your health care team for more information about Brenner’s support services and a checklist of things to do right before surgery, including any restrictions on food and water intake.