Having an anaesthetic

This page has information about what to expect when your child is having a general anaesthetic at Evelina London. For more information, please download our leaflet Your child's general anaesthetic (PDF 77Kb).

Before the operation

After the doctor decides your child needs surgery or an investigation under anaesthetic, an admission letter will be sent to you with the date for your child’s hospital stay.

The letter will include instructions about what to do before the operation (for example, instructions about fasting) and contact details. 

Pre-assessment clinic

The doctor will also refer you to our pre-assessment clinic, where your child will be seen by a nurse specialist and occasionally an anaesthetist.

You may be asked to stay and attend the pre-assessment clinic after your child's surgical consultation, but if you unable to stay and wait, we will make another appointment for you to attend.

At the clinic, we will talk to you about the types of anaesthetic and pain relief best suited to your child following surgery. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Find out more about the pre-assessment clinic.

Preparing your child

It is important that your child's stomach is as empty as possible during their operation or investigation. If food is in the stomach while having a general anaesthetic, your child is at a higher risk of being sick while unconscious – this could lead to complications. 

Your admission letter and staff at the pre-assessment clinic will discuss with you the time when your child should have their last food and drink before the investigation or operation. For more information, download our leaflet Your child's general anaesthetic (PDF 77Kb).

You will be seen by an anaesthetist on the day of surgery, where they will talk you through the anaesthesia procedure again and answer any questions you may have.

You will be able to go with your child to the anaesthetic room, which is next to the theatre where they are having their operation. Once they have fallen asleep, a nurse will take you back to the ward.

After the operation

Your child will be taken to the recovery room (near the operating theatre) as soon as the operation is finished. Here, specially trained recovery nurses will closely monitor your child.

You will be taken to the recovery room as soon as your child starts to wake up. When your child is ready, the ward nurse and a porter will take your child back to the ward with you. 

Your child may be able to start drinking fluids and then have a light diet within a few hours of getting back to the ward, but this depends on the type of operation. Please speak to your child’s nurse before giving your child any food or drink.

More information

For more information about having an anaesthetic, please download our leaflet Your child's general anaesthetic (PDF 77Kb).


Anaesthetic department

Tel: 020 7188 0644