August 7, 2009

Questions to ask before a child’s surgery

A child who is prepared will have an easier time with surgery, a U.S. pediatric anesthesiologist advises.

However, to be able to provide age-appropriate information for their child, parents first need to inform themselves, Dr. Roger Moore of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey -- who is president of the Association of Anesthesiologists -- advises.

Questions Moore suggests parents consider asking the physician overseeing their child's care include:

-- Can you walk me through the procedure? How long will it take? How often are there complications? Does my child have any special risks?

-- Can I be with my child before surgery? Will my child be sedated before the anesthesia is given? Can I be with my child when the anesthesia is administered? During surgery?

-- What type of anesthesia will be used and what risks are associated with it? Who administers the anesthesia and how will it be done? How long will it take my child to wake up from general anesthesia or regain feeling in the area that local or regional anesthesia was used?

-- Will my child feel pain or discomfort after surgery? If so, what can be done? Will there be a visible scar? How soon can my child come home?