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Narcosis or sedation (anesthesia)

Anesthesia is part of certain examinations or operations that your child must undergo. Another word for anesthesia is narcosis, and it ensures that your child will not be aware (unconscious) of the examination or the operation.

Preparations

Anesthesia requires proper preparation. Your child may not eat or drink anything for some time before the anesthesia is administered. The anesthesiologist or nurse will notify you in a timely manner of how long your child cannot eat or drink before the anesthesia. Generally, your child may have water, tea or apple juice up to two hours before receiving anesthesia. It's good to remember that your child may become nauseous if he/she secretly or accidentally eats or drinks anything. In preparation for the anesthesia, your child will take a small pill which makes him/her a bit drowsy.

Your child might be afraid of the anesthesia. Of course, it's a good idea to indicate this in advance to the anesthesiologist. Before administering the anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will drop by to reassure your child or to answer any questions. The pedagogical staff can also support you and your child during the anesthesia process.

Treatment

An anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia for your child. Among other things, this individual will ensure that your child's breathing, circulation and other major bodily functions continue throughout the narcosis.

If all the preparations have gone well, the anesthesia can begin. Your child will be taken to the operating room in his/her hospital bed.

The father or mother will be allowed to accompany the child, along with a pedagogical employee. Before your child goes under anesthesia, a few more actions will be performed in the operating room. First, your child will receive patches on the chest to monitor his/her heartbeat. In addition, a small red light will be placed on a finger or toe to measure the blood oxygen level. This is important to monitor whether your child's circulation is still functioning properly.

There are two different types of anesthesia. With general anesthesia, your child will be entirely 'asleep'. With local anesthesia, a certain part of the body is 'asleep'. This can be, for example, an arm, leg or the back. This means that your child does not feel anything at that site, but he/she is still awake.

There are two different methods for making your child go to sleep. Your child may decide which method he/she would prefer. One method uses a cap that fits over the nose and the mouth. This is a kind of breathing mask which delivers an anesthetic vapor. Once your child inhales the substance, he/she will fall asleep very quickly.

Another method takes place via an injection in the arm. Your child does not have to do anything to fall asleep from this method. In this case, the anesthesiologist will inject a fluid into your child's arm. Next, your child will receive a small tube in his/her throat that the anesthesiologist uses, together with a machine, to regulate your child's breathing. This means that your child does not have to breathe by him/herself during the examination or the operation. Once your child wakes up, the tube will already have been removed from his/her throat.


Aftercare

After the examination or operation, the anesthetist will ensure that your child is quickly reawakened. This is possible because the administration of the sleeping medication is then stopped. Your child may still be drowsy or feel a bit queasy when he/she wakes up. Generally this passes quickly. Your child can also eat and drink once again when he or she is properly awake.

It can happen that your child's throat is a little painful because that was where the tube was located. However, this unpleasant feeling quickly passes. You can give your child an ice cream or a sweet, that can help. After the examination or operation, your child will often remain for a little while in a quiet hospital room, close to the operating room. When your child feels completely at home again, he or she is allowed to return to his/her own room. It is important to note that an examination or an operation can lead to complications or pain. This depends on the type of examination or operation. For more information please refer to [link to page Examinations and Treatments]. The anesthesia itself is unlikely to trouble your child for very long.