Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Frequently Asked Questions, a new section in the SPA website for parents and families. We have tried to answer some common questions that you may have if your child is facing surgery or anesthesia. Please send additional comments or questions to I’ll try and get them answered as expeditiously as I can.

What is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist?
A pediatric anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in taking care of children during surgery and other procedures. Many different types of procedures require your child to stay still or may cause them discomfort if no anesthesia is used. An anesthesiologist can combine the right types of medicine to make sure your child is comfortable during the procedure. They may or may not need to be all the way “asleep” for some procedures done outside the operating room. Your child will need to be asleep for most surgery done in the operating room. A pediatric anesthesiologist can evaluate you child and make the best decision for their care.

A pediatric anesthesiologist is an anesthesiologist who has either a special interest in children and/or has received special training in pediatrics. Most anesthesiologist will go to college for 4 years, medical school for 4 years, and then do their internship and residency for 4 years. Pediatric anesthesiologists may have also done a pediatrics residency or an additional Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship. For more information please go to . Pediatric anesthesiologists take care of children of all ages from newborn to teenagers and are experienced in the special needs of children (and their families) at different ages. Their goal is to make the hospital experience as pleasant as they can, to help manage your child’s anxiety before surgery and pain after surgery.

Do Pediatric Anesthesiologists only work in the Operating Room (OR)?
No. Pediatric anesthesiologists may be involved in sedating or anesthetizing your child for many different procedures outside of the OR. Many children can’t lie still or cooperate enough to have a CT Scan or MRI. Bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures are procedures that young cancer patients may have to endure. The right kind of anesthesia can make these procedures much more bearable. Pediatric anesthesiologist may also be involved with helping preparing your child for surgery if they have complex medical problems. Many pediatric anesthesiologists will be involved with the pain service and will be experienced in different techniques and therapies to best manage your child’s pain

How Do I Find A Pediatric Anesthesiologist?
Most children’s hospitals have pediatric anesthesiologists, as do many community hospitals and medical centers. Ask your surgeon and/or the hospital where your child’s surgery is scheduled.

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