The pediatric anesthesiologists at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health provide anesthetic care for children undergoing surgery. The anesthesiologists and staff at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health will help you and your child prepare for surgery by telling you what to expect from them before, during and after the surgery.

Guide to Surgery

You may want to watch the video Preparing for Your Child’s Surgery and review the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Guide to Surgery. The guide tells you:

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

  • Tell your child as much as possible about what to expect.
  • Before your child's surgery, discuss options with your surgeon.
  • On the day of surgery, request a visit from one of our Child Life Specialists. (Child Life Specialists are professionals with educational backgrounds in child life, child health, child development or related fields. Child Life Specialists work closely with medical staff to address the emotional and social needs of children.)
  • The day of surgery, one of our anesthesiologists will speak with you before surgery to discuss anesthetic options and prescribe the anesthesia.

During the Preoperative Visit, Your Anesthesiologist Will:

  • Discuss your child's general medical history (conditions, diseases, medications and allergies).
  • Discuss your child's prior anesthetic experience.
  • Discuss relevant family anesthetic history.
  • Perform a focused physical examination.
  • Discuss options to help make your child less anxious.
  • Determine optimal anesthetic technique.
  • Explain the anesthetic plan to you and your child and answer any questions that you may have.
  • Obtain informed consent for anesthesia from a parent or guardian.

Types of Anesthesia

  • General anesthesia maintains complete unconsciousness during the surgery or medical procedure. General anesthesia may be delivered by inhalation using a face mask or by IV. General anesthesia often requires a breathing tube to be placed in the mouth for safety while the patient is asleep. This is done after the patient is already asleep.
  • Regional anesthesia blocks nerves to prevent sensation in a certain region of the body, such as an arm or a leg.
  • Local anesthesia is administered under the skin to prevent sensation in a small part of the body, such as the area around a surgical incision.

The Role of the Anesthesiologist During Your Child's Operation

  • Maintain appropriate depth of anesthesia
  • Monitor and support vital functions such as heart, lung and kidney function, as well as body temperature
  • Diagnose and treat medical conditions
  • Manage fluid therapy and blood transfusions
  • Manage pain control
  • Safely transfer the child to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) or Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Immediate postoperative care including evaluation for discharge to home or patient room