Anesthesiologists use medicines to block pain and make your child less aware during surgeries, tests or other procedures. The doctors and nurses on the anesthesiology team at Seattle Children’s have special training in giving anesthesia to children. We provide this service for children of all ages, from newborns to young adults, for any health problem and any procedure where they need anesthesia. Our main goal is to ensure your child’s safety and comfort.
Our team works closely with doctors in many other departments. We work with dental medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology, general surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, radiology, urology and other departments, and with our cancer, craniofacial, heart and transplant centers. We consult with other doctors to help plan and carry out complex surgeries. Some of our doctors are also part of the Pain Medicine Program. Some team members have special training in pediatric cardiac anesthesia or transplant anesthesia.
Each year, our team cares for more than 22,000 children. We work with patients and families at Children’s main campus, the Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center and Radiation Oncology Services at University of Washington Medical Center.
Services We Offer
If your child needs general anesthesia, this means they will get medicines that make them fall asleep. They will not feel any pain and will not move. Most children get general anesthesia because they are having a surgery. Your child may get it for other reasons, such as when they need to be still, like for dental care, radiation therapy or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
Regional anesthesia means your child gets medicine that blocks feeling in a large part of their body. The medicine numbs nerves in the area for a while. This is called a nerve block. Your child may get one dose of medicine to block pain for many hours. Or they may get medicine through a tube (catheter) for many days to block pain longer. Different nerve blocks are used for different surgeries. One type is an epidural. It’s a shot of medicine in the space around the spinal cord. Most children who get regional anesthesia also get other medicines. These keep your child comfortable and unaware of what’s happening during their surgery.
To help your child stay calm and comfortable during certain procedures, the doctor may give your child smaller doses of pain medicine and a medicine (sedative) that relaxes them. Your child may be drowsy and may even fall asleep. But they will not be completely asleep as with general anesthesia. They may be able to hear and respond when the doctor speaks to them.