Anesthesia is initially given by IV or by having your child breathe anesthetic gas through a mask. Once your child is asleep, the airway is kept open with a breathing tube. Based on the procedure your child is undergoing, the anesthetic may include anesthetic gases, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
Anesthesia professionals will monitor your child closely during surgery. Routine equipment will check on the heart's electrical activity, oxygen levels in the blood, temperature and breathing (measuring inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide concentrations).
In addition, a special blood pressure monitor (an arterial line) is placed after your child goes to sleep. An arterial line is like a regular IV, but placed in an artery rather than in a vein (usually in the wrist).
This monitor allows us to carefully monitor your child's blood pressure as well as allowing us to draw blood samples for laboratory tests.
During some of these surgeries your child's spinal cord and nervous system function may be monitored. This special monitoring is known as neurophysiologic monitoring.
Neurophysiologic monitoring involves the placement of special monitoring electrodes on the patient, usually after they are asleep. While your child is asleep, the neurophysiologist constantly monitors several nervous system functions so that potential problems are immediately recognized.
When neurophysiologic monitoring is utilized, the anesthesiologist will work with the neurophysiologist and surgeon to provide an anesthetic which does not significantly interfere with monitoring, yet keeps your child safe and comfortable.
The anesthesiologists, surgeon and neurophysiologist are in constant communication to help insure that potential problems are identified immediately and the appropriate action taken.