Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Understanding Anesthesia

In addition to understanding your child’s condition or illness, you may want to know about anesthesia, too. Each year, the pediatric anesthesiologists at Children's Hospital Colorado perform almost 20,000 anesthetic procedures exclusively on children. That’s experience you can count on.

Anesthesia is a medicine that induces a sleeplike state

Anesthesia will be given through a mask continuously during the operation. The anesthesia helps your child fall into a deep, sleeplike state that protects your child from pain. He or she won’t remember the operation.

As a parent, you may want to be there during induction

Anesthesia induction is the two- to three-minute process at the beginning of administering anesthesia. It may be possible for you to be with your child during induction, so let the hospital staff know if you want to be present. Your child’s anesthesiologist can help determine if you should be there, based on the age of your child, previous health history and the length of the procedure.

Specially trained pediatric anesthesiologists help keep your child safe

Children react to anesthesia differently than adults. At Children's Hospital Colorado, all of our anesthesiologists are specially trained in children’s anesthesia, ensuring your child receives the best care. Your anesthesiologist, whom you will meet before the operation, will monitor your child the entire time they are under anesthesia, checking blood pressure, heartbeat and oxygen levels.

There are some simple side effects

Side effects can include sleepiness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, sore throat and hoarseness. These side effects are not serious and will go away within a few hours to a few days. Your child may also be uncoordinated for up to 24 hours after anesthesia.

There is risk, but it’s minimal

Reactions are extremely rare. The most severe—and the rarest—can be life threatening. Rest assured, Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the finest pediatric hospitals in the nation. Every member of our staff is focused on children, and our physicians have the expertise and experience to keep your child as safe as possible.

No eating, no drinking, no kidding!

If your child eats or drinks too close to the time of the operation, the procedure will have to be rescheduled. So, follow your surgeon’s instructions—often referred to as “NPO guidelines”—regarding eating and drinking, even water, before the operation. Food or drink in your child’s stomach may be inhaled during anesthesia induction, causing complications. These NPO guidelines help minimize this risk.

If you have questions or need more information about NPO guidelines, please call the Department of Anesthesiology at (720) 777-6226.‚Äč

Anesthesiology (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Leprino Building

12401 East 17th Avenue

7th Floor

Aurora, CO 80045

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