Pre-Operative Anaesthesia Information – Dr Tamara Culnane

Your child is to have a procedure requiring an anaesthetic. Whether this is their first time, or your child has had an anaesthetic before, you will almost certainly have questions about the anaesthetic. I will discuss the anaesthetic with you prior to the procedure. In addition, you may find it useful to look at the information for parents on This is a free and informative website produced by a Melbourne-based anaesthetist.

For safety, your child must be fasted for the procedure: No food, lollies, gum, milk or drinks for 6 hours prior to the procedure. An exception is sips of water (small amounts) which may be given until 2 hours before the procedure is to start. (Infants under 12 months of age may have a breast feed, or small bottle of milk, up to 4 hours before the procedure.)

You may be present for the “going off to sleep” process if you wish. Often I will use anaesthetic gas (with chocolate or strawberry flavour if there are no food allergies) with a tube simply held near the child’s mouth, then a mask. For some children a needle may be required and “magic cream” can be used to numb the skin prior to this. I am present monitoring and caring for your child throughout the procedure. You will be asked to return to your child as soon as they start to wake up in our recovery area.

Some children may have nausea, and sometimes vomiting, after an anaesthetic. This is usually self-limiting. Many children wake up confused and may be distressed for a period, until they are more fully awake. Time and comfort settles this down. Your child can have a drink of water (or breast or bottle milk) when they are awake if there are no special concerns. You can introduce normal foods slowly over the rest of the day.

After most procedures, I recommend paracetamol (such as Children’s Panadol) every 4 to 6 hours or as you feel they need it. Painstop Day Elixir is slightly stronger and is available over the counter at pharmacies if required, and can be given instead of Panadol. Older children who swallow tablets may use paracetamol, or occasionally Panadeine or other medications.

If you have particular concerns to discuss prior to the procedure, please contact me on 9508 1219.

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