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Regional Anesthesia in Children: Care Instructions


Regional anesthesia uses medicines to block pain from an area of your child's body, such as an arm or a leg or the belly. It's used in many procedures. These include surgeries on the hand, foot, or groin area.

There are several types of regional anesthesia. They can be given near the spine, near a nerve, or in a vein.

Regional anesthesia can also help relieve pain after surgery. It can reduce your child's need for other pain medicine.

Serious side effects aren't common. But if nerve damage happens, it can cause long-term numbness, weakness, or pain.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Follow all instructions from your child's doctor about how to take care of the area that was numbed.
  • Make sure your child doesn't injure the area while it's still numb.
    • Remind them that if they move the area, to move it slowly and carefully.
    • Be careful with hot and cold. Since your child won't feel pain, it's easier for damage from heat or cold to happen.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing. Symptoms may include:
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Noisy breathing.
    • Using the belly muscles to breathe.
    • The chest sinking in or the nostrils flaring when your child struggles to breathe.
  • Your baby is limp and floppy like a rag doll.
  • Your child is very sleepy and is hard to wake up.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse nausea or vomiting.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has a new or worse headache.
  • The medicine isn't wearing off by the time the doctor said it should.
  • Your child has injured the numb area of their body.
  • Your baby can't stop crying.
  • Your baby won't eat within several hours after leaving the hospital.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.