General anesthesia is usually provided initially by intravenous (IV) or mask technique, followed by placement of the breathing tube.
Anesthesia professionals will monitor your child closely during surgery. For hernia surgery, routine equipment will check on the heart's electrical activity, blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood, body temperature and breathing (measuring inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide concentrations). For more major surgery, a special blood pressure monitor (an arterial line) may be used to continuously monitor blood pressure. An arterial line is like a regular IV, but placed in an artery rather than a vein. Similarly, a central line may be used to monitor central venous pressure or to give blood or medications quickly to the central circulation.
Options for post-operative pain relief include IV narcotics and regional anesthesia such as a caudal block. For major surgery, we may use continuous nerve blocks. These blocks are placed once your child is asleep to control pain during and after surgery.
To reduce the risk of apnea after surgery in premature babies, caffeine may be given by IV before or during anesthesia.