General Anaesthesia

The Day of the GA
Before the Operation

Your child should have nothing to eat for at least four hours prior to the anaesthetic. Clear fluids (water, cordial or apple juice) may be given up to 2 hours before you are due to come in.

On arrival, with your permission, we usually give a dose of paracetamol. Giving it at this time ensures that it will be working by the end of the operation.

You will meet the anaesthetist and have an opportunity to ask any questions.

The Anaesthetic

We are very happy for parents to be with their child when they go off to sleep for their operation.  Parents can then relax in the waiting room while treatment is being conducted.

General anaesthesia is usually initiated via a mask. Anaesthetic gases are introduced slowly while distraction games are played. It usually takes about a minute to fall asleep.

While anesthetised, a small intravenous needle (IV drip) is placed in your child’s arm to administer medicine and fluids. All children are given fluids through the drip to prevent dehydration and ensure a better recovery after the operation. A tube is passed through your child’s nose and into their windpipe to facilitate breathing and provide unhindered access for surgery.

If your child has had previous anaesthesia and has a preference regarding the initiation of the anaesthetic, this will be accommodated.

After the Operation

At the conclusion of surgery your child will wake up in the recovery room in the care of a trained recovery nurse. You will be called to be with your child at this stage. Some children are sleepy and quiet while coming out of the anaesthetic. Others may wake up restless and weepy. This settles quickly and children usually have no recollection of it.

You and your child will stay in the recovery area for about an hour following surgery. It is not unusual for your child to spend some time sleeping when she/he gets home.

One or two doses of paracetamol maybe required at home, but generally there is very little discomfort at this stage.

Side Effects

Nausea is not an uncommon side effect occurring in 10-20% of children. This is usually short lived and medication will be given to reduce it.

Minor discomfort is another side effect that can occur. Every effort is made to prevent this. Usually the combination of paracetamol before the operation, and local anaesthetic injected during the operation to numb the area works very well.

If required, strong pain relief will be given through the drip.

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