Not moving for more than a minute or two can be hard for children. When they are afraid, it can be even harder. UW Health knows how to comfort children and use medicine to keep them still during tests and procedures. A calm patient can ensure your child receives the proper care they need. There are three types of sedation we use to help your child.
Types of sedation
We give this mild form of sedation in gas or liquid form. Your child may still be awake. They are more relaxed and less aware of what’s happening. We use minimal sedation for catheter insertions, IV insertions and injections. Learn more from our videos:
We give this medicine as a gas, liquid or through a vein by IV. Moderate sedation makes your child very relaxed with little or no pain. Your child may still be awake. Or they may fall asleep and be easy to wake up. Your child may not remember the procedure. We use moderate sedation for fracture reductions, long line insertions and wound care. Learn more from our videos:
We give this medicine through a vein by IV. Your child falls asleep and remains still. Your child will not know what’s happening and will not remember the procedure. We use deep sedation for tests that are painful, such as biopsies or spinal taps, or for imaging procedures that require no movement, like MRI and CT scans. Learn more from our videos:
Procedures that need deep sedation
When you’re a child, it’s hard to stay still. We use deep sedation for many procedures and tests that require complete stillness, including:
Bone marrow biopsy
Kidney and liver biopsy
Deep sedation versus anesthesia
Deep sedation creates a lighter sleep than anesthesia. Under deep sedation, your child is unaware of what’s happening. While in this light sleep, your child can respond to some stimuli.
General anesthesia creates a deep sleep. Your child is unaware of their surroundings and does not respond to stimuli. We use general anesthesia for surgery and some diagnostic procedures.
We also use anesthesia if sedation is not safe for your child. Your child may need anesthesia rather than sedation if they have:
Facial disorders that distort airways
Increased pressure on the brain
Sleep apnea or central apnea