How will my child be given anesthesia before surgery?

Children are often anesthetized by having them breathe anesthetic gases through a mask. In those cases the IV will be placed after they are asleep, which avoids having them get stuck by a needle prior to surgery. We usually give the mask a nice smell that the child can choose ...root beer, watermelon and orange are very popular. I frequently will give a child some medication by mouth to calm their fears prior to going into the operating room. This way it is easier for them to come with me to the operating room. There are circumstances were we cannot have a child go to sleep with a mask, in which case an IV is placed before the child is asleep. The decision which method is used is up to the anesthesiologist treating the child and depends on a lot of different factors.

Anesthetic agents can be started in several ways. Most commonly in adults, anesthesia is started by an intravenous injection so the patient becomes unconscious rapidly. This is also a method that can be used for children. Another method of beginning anesthesia is to let your child breathe anesthetic agents until losing consciousness. This is called a mask or inhalational induction. With this approach, your child will be asked to breathe through a "space mask" quietly, and no needle sticks will be performed until after your child is sound asleep. The choice of which method to begin anesthesia will be made by the anesthesiologist based on many factors. 

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