COVID-19 update

We follow the state of Kansas’ phased vaccine distribution plan. We maintain policies to keep patients, visitors and staff safe. Learn the latest on our visitor policy, now 1 guest per patient for most visit types, and on vaccine distribution and availability.

Skip Navigation

Pediatric Anesthesia

Happy child

Our group of fellowship-trained pediatric anesthesiologists with The University of Kansas Health System work together to provide the best perioperative care for your child.

We will meet you in the preoperative area prior to your child’s procedure, where we will answer any questions you may have and attempt to relieve any anxiety your child may be experiencing. We will develop a plan to keep your child safe and comfortable during the procedure, and ensure that plan is carried out together with our anesthesia care team. We will aggressively deal with any problems that may arise during the procedure, and we will monitor your child in the recovery room until the effects of anesthesia have subsided.

Pediatric anesthesia FAQs

  • There are numerous risks of anesthesia in children. Fortunately, most adverse events are extremely rare. The more common side effects include post-operative nausea, sore throat and drowsiness. Learn more.
  • This topic is currently being vigorously studied by pediatric anesthesiologists across the globe. There have been studies in animals that strongly suggest that repeated, high-dose exposure to anesthetics can cause brain toxicity. Some studies have suggested a link between repeated exposure to anesthesia and subsequent difficulties with learning or behavior in humans. Most current research indicates that one brief exposure to anesthesia does NOT lead to cognitive or behavioral deficits in children. Learn more.

  • The risks of anesthesia can be magnified in a child with cold or flu-like symptoms. If your child becomes ill prior to his or her procedure, the first thing to do is to call their surgeon’s office and alert them. Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms and the nature of the procedure, the surgeon may decide to delay the procedure until your child is well again. The ultimate decision to proceed with surgery is made together by the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Learn more.

  • Your child’s stomach needs to be as empty as possible prior to surgery in order to prevent a condition called aspiration. Aspiration is when stomach contents come back up into the throat and make their way into the lungs. This can be potentially life-threatening. It takes the stomach several hours to empty, depending on the content of the meal. Please follow the guidelines listed below. Failure to follow the guidelines may potentially result in the delay or cancelation of your child’s procedure.

    1. Up to 2 hours prior to procedure your child may consume Pedialyte, water, or apple juice.
    2. Up to 4 hours prior to procedure your child may consume breast milk
    3. Up to 6 hours prior to procedure you child may consume formula if they are less than 1 year old
    4. Up to 8 hours prior to procedure your child may consume solid foods
  • Contact the Anesthesiology office at 913-588-6670. Your contact information will be taken and a pediatric anesthesiologist will call you to answer your questions.

  • Your child's anesthesia team consists of an attending anesthesiologist and either an anesthesiology resident or a certified registered nurse anesthetist. You will meet your anesthesia team in the preoperative area, where they will take a medical history and perform a pre-anesthesia assessment. You and your child will have an opportunity to ask questions about the anesthetic plan prior to your child being taken to the operating room. For the majority of cases, your child can go to sleep by inhaling anesthesia gas through a mask. Only after they are asleep will an IV be started. A breathing device may be inserted into your child's mouth to help them breath and deliver anesthesia gas throughout the procedure. Someone will be with your child at all times, monitoring their vital signs and making adjustments to the anesthesia as necessary. After the procedure is over, the breathing device will be removed as your child awakens. Your child will then be taken to the recovery room where they will be monitored continuously until the effects of anesthesia have subsided.

  • Young children can usually go to sleep with anesthesia gas through a mask that gently covers their nose and mouth. An IV will then be placed after they are asleep. As children get older, this technique becomes more difficult due to many physiologic factors. Children over the age of 12 or greater than 45 kilograms (100 pounds) should expect an IV to be placed prior to going to sleep. The decision will ultimately be made by the pediatric anesthesiologist after they have spoken with you and reviewed your child's medical history. Our ultimate goal is the safety and comfort of your child.

  • Children may experience anxiety upon separation from their parents as they are taken back to the operating room or procedural suite. This can be lessened with an oral medication given in the preoperative area. Once the medication takes effect, your child's anxiety will lessen and they will not remember their trip back to the operating room. If you are concerned about your child separating from you, please ask your anesthesiologist if oral sedation is appropriate during the preoperative visit.