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 having, the anesthetic may include anesthetic gases, intravenous anesthesia medicines and pain medicines.
Anesthesia professionals will monitor your child closely during surgery. They continuously monitor the heart's electrical activity, blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood, temperature and breathing (measuring inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide concentrations).
A special blood pressure monitor (an arterial line) may be placed after your child goes to sleep. An arterial line is like a regular IV, but is placed in an artery rather than in a vein (most often in the wrist).
This allows us to closely monitor your child's blood pressure and allows us to draw blood samples for lab 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.
This involves the placement of special monitoring electrodes on the patient, most often after they are asleep. While your child is asleep, the neurophysiologist constantly monitors several nervous system functions so that potential problems are recognized right away.
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 right away and the appropriate action taken.