Most children experience at least some pain after surgery. We work closely with you to manage your child's pain. You know your child best. Please always share information with your child’s nurse about what comforts and calms your child best.
Your child’s doctor will prescribe the pain medicine that will help your child the most, based on the type of surgery, how old your child is and if he/she has had any previous experiences with pain medicine.
We may give your child pain medication in pill or capsule form, as a liquid, or through an IV. Some children older than 7 who are admitted to the hospital after surgery may get medication through a special IV pump. This pump allows them to push a button to get medication when they are in pain. The pump is specifically programed to give your child safe doses. It will not administer too much medication even if your child pushes the button every minute.
If your child has a caudal or epidural catheter, we can provide additional pain relief that way. Providing local anesthesia (numbing medicine) through these catheters helps decrease the use of narcotic medications and their potential side effects. Talk to your child’s anesthesiologist to learn if this is an option for the type of surgery your child needs.
There are three main types of medicine doctors prescribe for children after surgery:
There are many nonmedical measures you and the surgical team can take to help your child manage pain. Often, the first step is simply recognizing your child is in pain.
Young children cannot always verbalize what they are feeling, and older ones may not want to. We know this makes it challenging to determine the level of pain each child is experiencing. We will work with you to manage your child’s pain, since you know your child best.
We are especially observant with babies, because they are unable to communicate in words how they are feeling. They communicate pain in other ways, including:
Here are some pain-relieving measures we often suggest to parents or guardians for infants:
Toddlers, preschoolers and young school-aged children are better able to communicate with words, but they may not be able to tell you exactly what is wrong or where the pain is. Some signs to look for include:
Here are some pain-relieving measures we often suggest to parents or guardians for young children:
Older children and teenagers are better at communicating when something hurts. For various reasons, they may not want to tell you or they may think there is no way to make it better. Some signs you might notice include:
Some pain-relieving measures we often suggest to parents or guardians that may help older children and teenagers:
Find out more about UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital surgery locations, including directions and parking information, as well as complete contact information.