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Anesthesia
Types of Anesthesia
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For Kids! What is Anesthesia?
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Types of Anesthesia

General Anesthesia

If a child needs general anesthesia, this means they will get medicines that make them fall asleep either through an IV, or by breathing special gases through a mask. They will not feel any pain, will not move, and will not remember. Most children get general anesthesia because they are having a surgical procedure. Some children may get it for other reasons, such as when they need to be still for a medical procedure, like for dental care, radiation therapy or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

Regional Anesthesia

Regional anesthesia means a child gets medicine that blocks feeling in part of their body. The medicine numbs nerves in the area for a certain length of time. This is called a nerve block. A child may get one dose of medicine to block pain for many hours, or they may get medicine through a tube (catheter) for many days to block pain longer. An epidural catheter can be placed just outside the spinal canal to provide a constant low level of effective pain control during surgery and afterward until the child is ready to take oral pain medicine. Most nerve blocks and epidural catheters are placed while your child is under general anesthesia using specialized equipment to help put the medicine in the right place.

Moderate Sedation

To help children stay calm and comfortable during certain procedures, the doctor may give your child smaller doses of pain medicine and a medicine (sedative) that relaxes them. The child may be drowsy and may even fall asleep with this method, but they will not be completely asleep as with general anesthesia. Instead, the child may be able to hear and respond when the doctor speaks to them. This technique is usually used for procedures such as suture removal, lumbar puncture, or dressing changes. Sometimes sedation is provided by an intensive care doctor, or pediatric hospital physician.

Cardiac Anesthesia

If your child requires heart surgery, cardiac catheterization procedures or electrophysiological (EP) studies, they will be cared for by a group of specially trained doctors who know how a child with heart disease may react to anesthesia. Our anesthesiologists work closely with the surgeons and the cardiologists in your child’s care team. For more information see Pediatric Anesthesia.

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