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General anaesthetic on 4yo - what would you do?

(29 Posts)
loomer Wed 21-Oct-09 12:55:48

My DD has curly toes and consultant at hospital has recommended a 'tenotomy' (snipping the tendon) on two toes... DH and I just can't decide what to do, as this simple procedure would unfortunately require a general anaesthetic - this worries us more than the actual op/recovery itself, which sounds like it's pretty simple and easy to recover from.

Her toes don't actually bother her at the moment, but we're concerned that they might be a problem in later life (soreness and rubbing in her shoes, or even just teasing at school). But if we don't address it now she could maybe make the decision herself when she's a bit older, and might not even need the GA - perhaps she could have it done under a local?

But if we sort it out now she will forget all about it soon enough because she's so young - I just think the GA will be quite traumatic for both her and us (she's only just had her pre-school 'booster' jabs and is still very worried about having any more needles stuck in her)...

We've had her appointment sent through from the hospital and have to confirm it by tomorrow, but we just seem to go in circles when we discuss it.

What would you do?

seeker Wed 21-Oct-09 13:00:28

I can't really help you with your decision, but my ds had a general anaesthetic when he was 6. He was sitting up eating child 30 minutes after coming back to the ward, and still(2 years later) talks about how lovely the 'special sleep' was! They numbed his hand and the nurse was chatting to him about liverpool Football Club and he didn't even notice the needle thing going in and fell asleep mid sentence Hope this helps a bit.

claricebeansmum Wed 21-Oct-09 13:02:23

"He was sitting up eating child 30 minutes after"

OMG seeker your DS is a cannibal? grin

seeker Wed 21-Oct-09 13:05:13

Yup. He was a vegetarian before he broke his arm......

Sorry - should read 'chips"!!!

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 21-Oct-09 13:05:13

DS1 (4) is going to have to go under soon to have his 2 broken front teeth out.

I was trying to avoid it but they are starting to reek and it has to be done.

seeker Wed 21-Oct-09 13:06:53

Yup. He was a vegetaria before he broke his arm!

Should obviously read "chips"!

morethanyoubargainfor Wed 21-Oct-09 13:07:17

I think i would have it done now, but then my ds 6 has had 11 ops in his life that we didn't really have a choice in, he is due to have another in December, (poss not the last). He has been fine, i on the other hand have only ever been once in the GA room.

It is a worry for all involved but the way i have coped with it is to talk freely about it IYKWIM.

As for the needle thing, my Ds won't even tolerate a plaster on his hands let alone the 'magic cream' so we just tell the nursing staff about and there are no needles involved until he is 'under' and they are removed by the time he comes round, or placed in a position that he can't get to. He he does the whope anaesthetic mask thing independenly adn drfits off to sleep.
I suppose what i am trying to say is that these things only tend to become an issue for the child if you make it one. My Ds happily tells anybody who asks him about his surgeries in a very grown up matter of fact way< (usually whilst the adults are squirming! grin). Now try and remove a splinter from him or put cream on a cut or whatever thats a whole other ball game and ususally ends up with my dh restrainig him sad.
The nusring staff deal with this osrt of stuff on a daily basis and should take a lead from you as her parents as to the best way to deal with your DD without causing too much stress.

Whatever decision you come to i wish you and your dd the best of luck.


seeker Wed 21-Oct-09 13:07:42

vegetarian. Sorry, OP - not my day!

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 21-Oct-09 13:16:48

My DS2 has had several GAs, from ages 10mths to 8 yrs. It was at alder hey so they are obviously well geared up for dealing with children.

The first couple he was fine. I went in the anaesthetic room with him and they blew bubbles / distracted him while they put him under, he recovered really quickly.

He really hated having the canula/drip in when he came round though, and developed a bit of a thing about needles. He didn't have to have a drip for the first couple. For the last one where they took screws and plate out of his leg they even let us home the same day

The one thing I would say is if you can get away without having a "premed" or anything to calm them down before, then please do avoid it. It really effected how quickly he recovered.

Gracie123 Wed 21-Oct-09 13:19:37

I'm terrified of needles, but as a child had to have a GA. They gave me gas though. Could you not talk to the anaesthetist about this option?

If I remember correctly you could choose what flavour you had. I got cherry. Mmmmmmm.....

morethanyoubargainfor Wed 21-Oct-09 13:22:30

they don't give you a choice anymore gracie, or atleast my DS hospital don't.

loomer Wed 21-Oct-09 13:26:27

This is all really useful, thank you all.
Seeker, I am encourgaed to hear that your ds was eating (chips, children or a full roast) so soon afterwards...

It probably sounds rather pathetic to those who have had kids in and out of the operating theatre several times... especially given that she's only going to be in theatre for about half an hour. Isn't it strange how differently they can behave with having a plaster put on at home and having a GA in hospital?

DD is generally a bit of a drama queen about being ill, and for this reason I think we would need to psyche her up for it. I'm very conscious of being positive about it, and trying to get DD looking at it as an adventure, so any top tips in that area would be welcome. Are there any books you found helpful (the leaflet they sent through from the hospital is pretty rubbish I think)? And do you think they would offer us the choice of using 'magic cream' or using a mask?

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 21-Oct-09 13:26:32

DS2 did have the gas the last time as he was too distressed by the needles.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 21-Oct-09 13:29:23

loomer, can you ask the hospital if they have a play therapist person. I think you can sometimes go in before and have a look around etc with a play person who can help you prepare

goingtohaveagoodnightssleep Wed 21-Oct-09 13:33:31

DD2 age 5 had an operation a couple of weks ago. SHe was given gas, I wasn't given a choice. She was fine when she found a canula in her hand when she woke up which was suprising as only a few months before she threw herself on the floor whislt having an injection!

Doyouthinktheysaurus Wed 21-Oct-09 13:34:23

DS1 had a GA for an eye op when he was 5. He was absolutely fine until they tried to put the canula in his hand. He got really upset but he was knocked out very quickly and recovery time was really quick.

He was distressed for an hour or 2 after because his eye was stinging and he was confused by that but once that settled he was fine.

That was nearly 2 years ago and whenever he mentions his op now it's always to tell us that he ate lots of toast. That's all he remembers bless him, which suits me finesmile

Biobytes Wed 21-Oct-09 13:36:41

DS had general anaesthetic being 5 months old. He was fine.

Marne Wed 21-Oct-09 13:39:52

Dd2 had an anaesthetic when she was 2.5 to remove a ham bead from her nose grin, she was sat up half an hour later too (eating toast) and no side effects at all.

Fennel Wed 21-Oct-09 13:40:00

My dd3 had this operation to straighten her wonky toes, at nearly 3.
her toes are better since, she had problems with blisters in shoes before it was done.

I think she did find it traumatic, she was quite little at the time and is an uncomplaining type but ever since then she screams when we cut her toenails. but it wasn't a huge operation or long recovery time.

mummyplonk Wed 21-Oct-09 13:47:58

Hi,DS 4yr old has had 10 GA's this year. Exactly the same with needles, restraining was too traumatic and dangerous all round, we ended up with oral sedative & gas for the last few ops, this was so much calmer.

They wouldnt offer this to us originally (grrr) only when I pushed so may be worth giving the Childrens ward a quick ring as I'm sure they will have all of the options available to you. It is true though at this age they will forget and they are amazing at bouncing back, I hope she will be running around soon.

morethanyoubargainfor Wed 21-Oct-09 13:48:48

loomer, i dont think you are being daft at all, i still get worked up and anxious about my ds. I hope it didn't come accross like that.

The books i found difficult as they were all mainly about sore ears! and in and out of hospital the same day. They should offer you all a visit to the ward etc, usually about 7-10 days before the op.

I wouldn't wait to be offered a choice of gas or magic cream i would ask for you preferd option from the onset.

My ds also takes one of his most treasured teddies with him, and he has the same treatment as ds, the name band, the bandages, the trip down to theatre on the bed, and he has even been given medication and worn a catheter at times as well wink. Does yuor DD have a favourite toy? Also when he was younger we brought him his own medical kit, so he could practise on everyone to see what would happen to him when he was asleep! that helped alot i think.

titchy Wed 21-Oct-09 13:50:42

Another one who has a child who has had 5 GAs (and has no underlying health issues either - just a run of bad luck!). He's been absolutely fine, happy to have canula put in (with magic cream), recovered very well and eaten chips (obviulsy hospital seem to think that's all kids eat grrr) an hour or so afterwards.

If the op is only half and hour she won't have a deep anaesthetic. Also the anaesthetist will be specially trained to deliver anaesthetics to children (it's a specialim I believe). So you should feel reassured I hope.

invlanderen Wed 21-Oct-09 13:58:37

OP, this is always a difficult decision.. I have delayed an op for my dd on the same grounds as you, but can´t put it off any longer. I regret this now as she is now old enough to be anxious about the op, when it could have been done without any fuss or upset when she was younger..

Ifg I were you I would check the possibility of a local anaesthetic being available when she´s older and be guided by that. Maybe it would be worth waiting for that..

loomer Wed 21-Oct-09 13:59:31

Yes, I am hoping that the anaesthetist will be sympathetic - I don't think it helped that when we went to the pre-op assessment unit one of the nurses there attempted to 'reassure' me by telling me that her DS had an op fairly recently at which she AND the anaesthetist AND one other member of staff had to pin him down to get the mask on his face... strangely, this lovely tale only served to freak me out! I don't know what she was thinking (particularly since she was telling me all this whilst DD was sat on my knee).

"It was only a minute or so of struggling and then he was out like a light".
Oh, that's all right then, you'll only have to pin my child down and force a mask onto her face for a minute or so shock!!

bruffin Wed 21-Oct-09 14:12:32

My DD had a GA when she was 2 for a skin graft on her hand. She was given gas and was back home that same night.

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