Maternity Enquiries +44 (0)20 7390 6200

Children's Enquiries +44 (0)20 7390 8020

Gynaecology Enquiries +44 (0)20 7390 6200

The Portland hospital


Yes, a bed will be provided for one parent to stay overnight.

Yes, you can bring your own food with you. There is a small fridge in the room, crockery will be provided by servery and a microwave is available in the parents' lounge.

It is open visiting. However, we do recommend that visitors leave by 2200 hours so both parent and child can settle for the night.

If your child has got a favourite toy or a comforter, do bring them in. You will need a nightie/pyjamas and toiletries. If you have a portable DVD player you can bring it in.

A general anaesthetic ensures that your child is fully asleep and free of pain during a test or operation. It consists of a combination of drugs given either as gas to breathe, or as an injection. General anaesthetics are only given by anaesthetists.

Anaesthetists are specialist doctors who look after children before, during and after surgery. Their role is to ensure that children are asleep and safe throughout surgery and wake up comfortably at the end.

An anaesthetist will see you in your room prior to surgery to assess your child's general health and to discuss the anaesthetic. The anaesthetist will discuss options for anaesthesia and pain relief medication.

It is important that your child's stomach is empty as possible as this reduces the risk of vomiting during the operation. Usually, no food or milk should be taken for six hours before surgery, but water and/or clear fluids can be given up to three hours before surgery.

Yes, both parents are very welcome to go to the anaesthetic room and you will be able to stay until your child is asleep. Once he/she is asleep, the nurse will accompany you back to your room where you can order refreshments.

Your child will either have an anaesthetic gas to breathe or an injection depending on age. Anaesthetic gas takes a minute or two to work. The anaesthetist uses a face mask to give the anaesthetic gas, while your child is in your arms sitting on your lap. If your child is having an anaesthetic by injection, 'magic cream' is put on the hand about an hour before surgery. This numbs the skin so that a small plastic tube (cannula) and needle can be put into the vein. The anaesthetic is injected through this cannula.

Your child will be taken into the operating theatre. The anaesthetist will closely monitor your child's blood pressure, pulse, temperature and breathing throughout the operation, ensuring that he/she is safe and fully asleep. When the operation is finished; your child will be transferred to the recovery room. The plastic cannula may be left in place but it does not cause more than minor discomfort.

This room adjacent to the operating theatre where your child wakes up from the anaesthetic. Each child is closely looked after by a nurse until he/she is awake and comfortable enough to return to the room. The recovery room is a child friendly environment. You will be called when appropriate to sit with your child until he/she is recovered and ready to go back to the room.

Many parents say that time seems to pass slowly while their child is having an operation. You can return to your room with the nurse and order some refreshments. You can prepare a bottle of milk for your baby while waiting. You can also go for a walk if you wish to, if you do, ensure you leave a contact number e.g. mobile phone number with the nurses.

Modern anaesthesia is very safe and complications are rare. The anaesthetist is an experienced doctor who is trained to deal with any complications. Most children recover quickly and are soon back to normal after and anaesthetic, but some may suffer after effects. These can include headache, sore throat and dizziness. Some children may feel sick and/or vomit. These effects usually last only a short time and there are medicines available to treat these effects if necessary. Other complications may occur depending on your child's medical condition, the type of surgery and anaesthetic used. If there are risk factors specific to your child these will be discussed with you beforehand.

While your child is asleep, pain relief is given to help make him/her as comfortable as possible after surgery. The type and strength of pain relief given depends on the procedure or operation and this will be discussed with you beforehand.

All drugs and treatments have potential complications but these methods are remarkably safe and are often used after children's surgery.

Suppositories: Some pain killers like paracetamol can be given rectally (into the bottom). These are often given while your child is still asleep and last several hours. Suppositories are also very good for pain relief when children cannot take medicines by mouth or are feeling sick.

Local anaesthesia: This is given by injection into or near the nerves around the wound to numb the area of the operation. It is given while your child is asleep and the effect usually lasts for a few hours.

Caudal Block: An injection of local anaesthetic solution given at the bottom of the back to block the pain sensation in the area of the operation.

Side effects of caudal:

  • Sometimes children complain that their legs fell a little heavy and difficult to move.
  • They can also experience problems passing urine.

These side effects will stop when the local anaesthetic wears off.

Strong pain killers: Most commonly, morphine is used to help make children feel more comfortable following major surgery. This is given intravenously (into a vein) and this may be continued after their operation using a pump with a button that can be pressed if extra doses are needed. This is called either patient or nurse controlled analgesia - PCA or NCA.

Side effects of morphine and other strong pain killers:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching
  • Slow breathing

These side effects can be treated with other drugs or by discontinuing the morphine.

The Harley Street Clinic
The Lister Hospital
London Bridge Hospital
The Princess Grace Hospital
Wellington hospital
Harley Street at University College Hospital
Harley Street Queens
The Christie Clinic
Sarah Cannon Research UK
Blossoms Healthcare
Roodlane Medical
Galen Health Partners
52 Alderley Road
The London Gamma Knife Centre at St Bartholomew's
Make an Appointment