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Your Child’s Surgery

Anesthesia frequently asked questions (FAQs) for children

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is a special medicine you get so you don't wake up or feel anything during surgery. An anesthesiologist is the doctor that gives you this medicine. The anesthesiologist is sometimes called the sleep doctor.

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How do I get the special medicine?

Most of the time you’ll get anesthesia for surgery through an intravenous (IV). An IV is a tiny plastic straw that is placed into a vein (usually in your hand). The sleep doctor puts special sleep medicine into your body through the little straw. Once the medicine goes in, you’ll fall asleep very quickly.

Sometimes, you may get medicine that you breathe in through a mask to help you relax. The medicine in the mask may smell fruity like strawberries. You’ll get sleepy as you breathe in the medicine. The IV will be started once you are asleep.

How do you know when I'm asleep?

The sleep doctor can tell you’re asleep by watching you very closely. They also use special machines in the operating room to help watch your breathing and how you’re doing.

Will I wake up during the surgery?

The sleep doctor is with you during your surgery. They make sure to give you the right amount of medicine to stay asleep.

When will I wake up?

When your surgery is done, the sleep doctor stops giving you the medicine and you’ll start to wake up. When you wake up, you’ll be in a different room, called the post-anesthetic care unit (PACU). You’ll rest here for a while and then go to a room where your family will be waiting for you.​

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