Who Will Anesthetize My Child?

At Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, all patients undergoing anesthesia are cared for by an anesthesia doctor who specializes in pediatric anesthesia. Our association with Indiana University School of Medicine means that our pediatric anesthesiologists are committed to the highest levels of medical care, research and education. Our anesthesia team often includes resident doctors training under the full supervision of staff pediatric anesthesiologists, which gives your child the benefit of care by several individuals dedicated to his or her needs. If you have any questions about the pediatric anesthesiology team, please ask the nurse who will contact you the day before surgery.

What May My Child Eat or Drink on the Day of Surgery?

Anesthesia is safer today than ever before. One reason for this is our better understanding of the risks associated with eating and drinking before anesthesia. You will be given very specific instructions about what your child may eat and drink before surgery as well as the times when the eating and drinking must stop. These instructions are designed to reduce the risk of serious respiratory problems. The instructions must be followed carefully. If for some reason they are not followed, please tell us right away so that adjustments can be made to help protect your child from harm.

What Type of Anesthetic Will My Child Receive?

The goals of general anesthesia include pain relief, unawareness ("anesthetic sleep"), acceptable vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen during surgery and a comfortable wake-up period. A combination of medications and techniques may be used to meet these goals. A doctor will discuss the anesthetic plan for your child with you. The anesthetic plan is developed from factors including your child's health history, current condition and surgical needs. Your anesthesiologist may prescribe a preoperative medication for your child to reduce his or her level of anxiety. This will help to decrease the memory of beginning the anesthetic. Depending on the surgical procedure, your anesthesiologist may also discuss approaches to managing pain following surgery.

When May I See My Child After Anesthesia?

We realize this is a stressful time for you and your family. Our goal is to reunite you with your child as soon as possible. Our main priority, however, is the safe recovery of all of our patients from the effects of anesthesia. Therefore, we can not guarantee that you will be able to visit your child in the Recovery Room. The final decision is based not only on your child's condition, but also on the conditions of the children around them.

What Can I Expect While My Child Recovers from Anesthesia?

While today's anesthetics allow a smoother, more comfortable recovery than in the past, side effects are not unusual. Nausea and/or vomiting can occur either as the result of the anesthetic or the surgical procedure. If needed, antinausea medications will be given. Every effort will be made to provide comfort to your child. Supplemental pain medication may be necessary. Even if your child is comfortable, waking up in an unfamiliar environment may be upsetting. It is occasionally helpful to provide medication to relieve anxiety in the Recovery Room. Your child may be very sleepy from the anesthetic or other medication. Although your child will want to see you, he or she will probably want to sleep and not feel like talking.

How Can I Help in the Recovery Room?

In order to make visitation in the Recovery Room as smooth as possible, we ask for your cooperation in the following areas:

  1. Only two visitors at a time.
    There is a limited amount of space around patients in the Recovery Room. The nurses need to be able to move freely around the bed in order to take care of your child.
  2. No children under the age of 16 are allowed in the Recovery Room.
    Your child needs all of your attention while you are visiting. There is also a lot of equipment and unfamiliar people and noises, which might be scary for a younger child.
  3. Family Support Nurse.
    There is a Family Support Nurse available in the daytime, Monday through Friday. The nurse will make rounds on a frequent basis between the Operating Room, the Recovery Room and the Surgery Waiting Area. They will be able to give you information about how your child's surgery or recovery is going.
  4. Please do not come to the Recovery Room until we call for you.
    If your surgeon tells you that your child is going to the Recovery Room, that often means only that the procedure itself is done. Additional time is needed for the anesthesiologist to wake your child up and for the Operating Room staff to get them ready to move to the recovery room. It will then take time to get your child settled in. This can take an hour or more after the surgeon talks to you.

May I Leave the Waiting Area?

If you decide to leave the Surgery Waiting Area for any reason, please either sign out on the clipboard at the desk or make sure the host or hostess knows where you are going and how long you will be gone. This will help us if we need to find you. If you are in the waiting area around a mealtime, we do encourage you to eat. Please feel free to answer the phone at the desk if it rings when the host or hostess is away from the waiting area.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns while your child is at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Main Day Surgery, please call the number listed below.

Phone 317.944.8634

If you have any questions or concerns while your child is at ROC Surgery, LLC at IU Health Ambulatory Surgery Center, please call the number listed below.

Phone 317.948.1511