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General anaethetics for children - advice needed

(17 Posts)
whitfield Thu 05-Dec-02 11:46:27

My ds who is 4 has been suffereing from a blocked hair follicle in his eye. Despite getting some cream from the Dr's it does not seem to have resolved the problem.

He has now been prescribed some antibiotics in the hope it will help. The last resort would be to get the blockage removed in hospital but would mean he would have to receive a general anaethetic. The Dr's are keen to avoid this due to the problems associated with anaethesia with young children.

I wondered if any parents have gone through a similar situation or could offer any advice.

Bozza Thu 05-Dec-02 11:56:36

Whitfield - My DS had a minor op on his face just 2 days before his first birthday. This was to remove a sort of cyst from just below his eye. It had to be done because it was composed of blood vessels and kept bleeding really heavily (was very stressful).

Obviously your situation is different because your DS is of an age to understand a lot more. The best advice I can give is to request that your DS be put on the theatre list first because then he will go without food for the least time. Also I think you will probably be allowed to stay with him while he has the anaesthetic which should help.

I think DS was only down there about 20 mins but it seemed like a long time but fortunately DH was there with me and I was taken down from the ward to the theatre to get him. He was crying loudly but in a cross way which made me think he was OK. And as soon as he'd had some milk and a few grapes (he was starving) he was fine although he did have an extra long nap later that day. I'd taken the next day off work but he was fine so I sent him to nursery and went to work.

Jaybee Thu 05-Dec-02 12:51:34

My ds was circumcised when he was 4 - I explained briefly that the doctors put you to sleep with some special milk which is put into his hand - this is so you don't feel anything during the operation and when you wake up it will all be over but you will be a bit sore for a few days. If it gets to the point that your ds has to have a general I would imagine that this is purely to ensure he is really still - so I would doubt that his anaethetic would be very long. Many many kids have to have operations and I am sure he would be fine - as you say though there is always an element of risk and we always worry don't we!!

SueW Thu 05-Dec-02 15:28:15

Yes, it's frightening, I think, when your child has to have a general. My DD did during the summer - she was 5.5yo. I had to explain to her that she would go to sleep and when she woke up she would have five holes in her tummy, and possibly a big cut down the front of her tum (if the keyhole surgery didn't work and they had to convert to open). Luckily, she so much wanted to be out of pain that she was quite happy about it all. More so than I was I think!

Try to remember that the anaesthetist will be specialised in dealing with children and that they want to do everything they can to make it as pleasant an experience as possible. Your son may be very bad-tempered when he comes out of the anaesthetic - even my DD was pretty grumpy and she's generally mid-mannered. A friend's son who had grommets woke up and starting hitting his mum and thrashing about but I suspect it's something to do with hunger as well as the drugs running round their system.

I hope it doesn't get that far but good luck if it does.

gillymac Thu 05-Dec-02 20:25:05

Hi Whitfield,
I've got experience of general anaesthetics both as a parent and a child. I had several ENT operations when I was a child, the earliest when I was four, then at seven, ten and eleven. I think that children are much more accepting of what's going on and much less worried than their parents. I can remember actually being quite excited about getting an operation and my only bad memories of hospital are of having to use a spoon instead of a knife and fork (because I was under six) and of my mother not being allowed to stay with me (a policy which has obviously changed now). I certainly didn't have any after-effects, physical or mental, as a result of having the anaesthetic.
As a parent, my dd2 had to have a general anaesthetic after an accident and I found the swhole situation much worse from a parents point of view. I was allowed to stay with her while they gave her the anaesthetic which was quite horrible actually as one minute she was struggling against the mask and the next minute she just went limp and then I had to leave her there to be wheeled into theatre. She was fine after it apart from being slightly more grumpy than usual and was out of hospital less than six hours later.
I hope the antibiotics work for your son but try not to worry too much if he needs an anaesthetic. He'll probably be much less bothered by it all than you are.

whitfield Fri 06-Dec-02 15:15:11

Thank you so much for your replies, it has helped to put my mind at rest. Gillymac - I'm sure you are right that it will probably affect me more than him. Anyway fingers crossed that the antibiotics work!

Eulalia Fri 06-Dec-02 18:13:11

My ds had a hernia operation at 16 months. I was allowed to go into theatre with him while he had the anaesthetic. Then they took him straight out to me. He was able to leave the same day.

I had my adenoids out at age 7 and wasn't at all scared. In fact I was spoiled rotten for awhile which was great. Good luck for your ds

roxie Fri 06-Dec-02 19:44:24


Hi - just read your thread. My dd had general an. at 13 months. My ds2 is due to go into hospital in Jan 2003 for a circumcision and will have to have general anasth. Our GP and consultant have not mentioned anything to me about problems with young and gen. an. My ds1 looks like having to have a circumcision too at some point next yr. You've got me thinking now......why have they not asked me how i feel about this, if anaesthesia has its question marks? Worried now.....

anais Fri 06-Dec-02 22:53:44

My ds had general anaesthetics at age 1 week and then 6 months. It has been two of the worst experiences I have ever been through. Second time around, after his op ds was on the most morphine he could be given without needing to be sent down to special care. Despite that it didn't knock him out - he was a very sociable baby and whenever a nurse or anyone came in to see him he smiled at them. And each time he's smile you'd see him wince in pain, but he still kept smiling. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and walking away in the anaesthetic room was heart-breaking, but we came through it. Ds was in a lot of pain, but he is such a fighter, and I think kids just cope with these things (along with so many other things) so much better than us. What I'm trying to say is that it is horrible, but you'll get through it. Ds will have to have more operations in the future and the idea makes me feel quite sick. I know I will fall apart again at the time, but its got to be done. And once it's over, its over.

anais Fri 06-Dec-02 22:57:32

Apologies for the waffle and the bad grammer, a bit emotional here.

Roxie, there is always a small risk with any anaesthetic, but it is very tiny. I won't comment on your reasons for anaesthetic as I don't think it's appropriate, but I would only put my children through an anaesthetic if it was absolutely necessary. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your consultant, they should be able to reassure you.

whitfield Mon 09-Dec-02 14:02:57


Apologies - my question wasn't meant to be alarmist. We were just told by our GP that anaesthetics are a last resort with young children and elderly as there is a larger risk involved with these groups. I would presume this would depend also on the type of surgery and how long it would take.

I would echo what anais has said and speak to your consultant for reassurance.

whitfield Mon 20-Jan-03 16:01:29


Just wanted to come back to say the operation went fine and he had no adverse reaction to the anaesthic and has made a full reovery. The only bad thing that came out of the situation was that after the surgery there was a lack of communication between the nursing staff and as such my son woke up from the anaesthic without us in the room. Which understandably he was distressed about, but that's another story.

Tinker Mon 20-Jan-03 16:16:39

Whitfield, so glad you posted and glad it all went ok. My daughter is due to go in at end of Jan to have a tiny cyst removed and I am absolutely terrified. Am seriously thinking, as long as there are no serious complications involved, of postponing until she is older and can have a local.

susanmt Mon 20-Jan-03 16:26:36

great news whitfield. Glad to hear it all went well.

Mo2 Fri 28-Feb-03 20:35:47

This seemed the most appropriate place to post this...
Can anyone share any experiences of how their child reacted after a General Anaesthetic?
DS1 had day surgery for squint correction yesterday and although horrible to have to experience, everything went OK and we were discharged yesterday. He slept fine last night, however today he has just been positively weird - sleepy one minute, angry & rebellious the next, talking jibberish, and then tonight he's just had THE biggest tantrum screaming fit I've ever experienced. DH & I keep telling ourselves that it's just the after effects of the GA, but how long might this go on?? I know he's also in pain/irritated by his eye, but we're giving him regular pain relief, and somehow this doesn't seem to be the major problem. Anyone know if it's normal for kids to have such strong psychological reactions?

JJ Sat 01-Mar-03 15:53:48

Mo2, my son has been under twice and never had anything like that. I would ring the hospital and ask for the anaesthetist who did the operation for advice. (That suggestion might show up my utter lack of knowledge of the NHS -- but the anaesthetist is the person who would know what is to be expected, I think.)

Good luck and hope he gets back to normal soon.

Mo2 Mon 03-Mar-03 16:06:58

Phew - glad to say all is OK. Thanks for your post JJ. we did speak to the hospital, and although they were helpful, their advice was basically "wait & watch" a bit longer. Anyway he was horribly sick (i.e. a bad vomit) on Saturday and then yesterday seemed so mcuh better. Today it's all I can do to get him to slow down and take it easy. Hopefully this means he's on the mend.

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