Are the risks different between children and adults?
Respiratory complications are more frequent in the pediatric population, while injury to the nervous system is more common in adults. In experienced hands, the risk of anesthesia in children is very low.
How will my child go to sleep?
The age and maturity of your child will aid in the decision about how he/she will go to sleep. With younger children, the most frequent type of induction (putting one to sleep) is inhalation. Inhalation induction allows the child to breathe themselves off to sleep with oxygen, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and anesthesia gas. The older child will often choose an IV because it is a faster way to go to sleep. If the older child is afraid of the IV sleep, or needles, an inhalation induction is an option.
What will you do if my child is anxious before surgery?
Medications are available that will sedate your child prior to the start of the anesthetic. These medications are similar to Valium® but are shorter acting. These medications can be given either by mouth or through an IV. In some institutions, induction rooms are available for the child to be with their parents while going off to sleep. Your anesthesiologist will decide what is the best for your child after discussion with you. A vast majority of children do not require anything other than a wagon to ride in and a hand to hold.