About A General Anaesthetic
An anaesthetist would tend to assess an otherwise healthy child just before their operation. This would then lead on to a discussion about the specific anaesthetic your child would be receiving, including the risks of that anaesthetic. However the risk of complications from a short anaesthetic provided by a specialist anaesthetist for an otherwise healthy child is extremely low.
Depending on the Anaesthetist’s assessment, he or she may order a “pre-medication” for your child before they have their surgery. This almost always is done for the purposes of pain relief but at times may also be done for the purposes of sedation.
Fasting is required before an operation to minimise the risk of stomach contents being aspirated into the airway. Generally, this means
- No food for 6 hours before the operation – this includes milk, chewing gum, toothpaste, lozenges to suck on, or mouthwash.
- Breast milk is allowed up to 4 hours before the operation.
- Clear fluids are allowed up to 2 hours before the operation. This includes water, cordial, and juices that are not cloudy or have “bits” in them. To be classified as clear fluids, you must be able to see through it. If in doubt, limit your child to water.
These times will be specified prior to the operation. Please note that your admission time does not necessarily reflect when the operation will be.
Some children who have problems with aspiration (fluid or food entering their windpipe) are prescribed thickener by their dietician, speech therapist, or paediatrician to thicken fluids and minimise their swallowing difficulties. Please note that anything containing thickener is classified as “food” even if it is only water that is being thickened. As such, anything that contains thickener needs to be withheld for 6 hours before an operation.
Failure to adhere to fasting times may result in the operation being delayed or cancelled.