Pediatric Anesthesia




How many hours before surgery should my child stop eating or drinking?
After reviewing important studies, the American Society of Anesthesiologists developed the following suggestions for healthy patients before elective surgery:

  • Solid food:  6 hours
  • Breast milk:  4 hours
  • Clear liquids:  2 hours

It is very important to consult your surgeon, anesthesiologist, or hospital to learn their specific guidelines for food and drink consumption prior to surgery, as your other medical conditions may affect stomach emptying. 

Can I accompany my child into the operating room when she has surgery?
Hospitals and surgery centers have different policies about going into the operating room with children.  Having a parent in the operating room may depend on the space and staff available to make it safe and comfortable for the child and the parent.
In general, hospitals and surgery centers recognize the importance of keeping parents and children together in an atmosphere that keeps everyone feeling calm. It is best to speak with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, or another member of the team at the facility to find out about usual practices and to have your questions answered before the day of surgery.

Could my child need anesthesia or sedation for an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a special type of imaging study that uses a strong magnetic field to take detailed pictures of the body. For children, an MRI study means holding very still, often for 30-60 minutes, so anesthesia or sedation may be needed to complete the study.
Your child’s anesthesiologist or other health care provider will examine your child before the MRI and discuss best options based on your child’s specific anesthesia needs and the type of study being performed.

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The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.