23 answers

Anesthesia for 5 Year Old???

Please help! I'll make a long story short. After several vists to our pediatrician and opthamologist, it is agreed upon that my five year old son has a skin tag, about 1/4 inch below his right eye. The opthamologist said there was a 30-40% chance that it would go away. It does not (physically) bug my son, but he does get questioned about it...alot! It kinda does look like he has a (sorry) booger under his eye. My husband and I really want this taken care of, and we're thinking that since he's so young, we should do it now. The opthmologist did say that it is a very quick procedure, but due to his age, that he would be put out under a local anesthesic. This SCARES the bejesus out of me!! Has ANYONE had this done and what were the results? I know that we will have a talk with the anesthesiologist, but I am still so frightened! Any thoughts on comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a million:)

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My 15 month old daughter went under general anesthesic
when she had tubes put in her ears. She was under for 10 minutes if even that and was fine right after, she was running around the house and was not affected by it at all.
I wouldn't worry about the affects of anesthesic to much.

My now 5 year old has gone under 2 different times - once when he was about 15 months old and again around 4 1/2.

He doesn't react well to anesthesia at all - he wakes up VERY angry and very violent. I usually wake up from anesthesia crying, so my son's reactions make sense.

It takes a good 10-15 minutes for him to calm down - after that, he's fine. But, those minutes are VERY long.

Good luck to you.

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Hi K. - I know exactly how you feel. My now 14-year-old had something similar on the side of his eye when he was two. His kept bleeding so he had to have it removed. It was terrifying at the time, but I promise you, once it's over he and you are absoloutely fine - and you'll be so relieved. I'm sure everytime you see it it bugs you - it will be over. My five year old recently had two teeth taken out - adult teeth came in without baby ones falling out - and it was extremely stressful for the 30 minutes it took because he was awake. I felt awful. I think it's better that your little guy will be asleep - try to make it seem like an adventure and get him some treats like sticker books or whatever to take to the hospital. Best of luck - Alison

1 mom found this helpful


My son had an angioma underneath his eye, high on his cheek. It was constantly rupturing and bleeding and sometimes, after hours of trying everything we could think of, we would not be able to get it to stop. We took him to a dermatologist and they removed it using local anesthesia. He was only 2. He did get scared but it was a very quick procedure. I don't know if it would be the same for a skin tag or not.

You are right to be concerned about putting your son completely under as their are risks. If you trust the doctor then I'm sure it would be fine. My daughter had surgery at 6 weeks old, plus went under general anesthesia again at 4 months old as well and she did fine. Go with your gut. :O)

We just put our 2 1/2 yr old under for a re-circumcision. It was a 1 1/2 hour procedure and he was under for that entire time. I was very nervous to do it and put such a young child under, but the doctor said the younger the better because they tend to forget it easier. The only drawback is in the recovery room where they are not quite "with it" for a while.

It is scary for the parents while they're under, but after doing it with no complications, I would do it again.

Hope this helps!

Hi there. My daughter had surgery at just under 4 years old and I was a mess about the anesthesia, not the surgery!!! She was under for about 2 1/2 hours I think it was and the doctor told me she did great. She looked absolutely horrible when we saw her in recovery. However, we discovered later after we left the hospital, that she was just a drama queen. Not a single doctor or nurse explained that kids can be dramatic and not to panic. We, as parents, had never been through anything like this and were horrified when we walked in to the recovery room to see our baby girl look like she was dying, she was in so much pain. Next, they said they were going to discharge her 24 hours after the surgery and we were mortified.

Here's the kicker, we walked out the hospital doors and she turned right back into herself and asked if she could go play with grandma's dog at her house LOL! She was petrified after all we talked about before hand, she just didn't know what to expect next. There were lots of needles for blood and IV and cathetars, etc. So, I don't think you should be concerned about the anesthesia as much as how much your child understands what is going to happen and how he can let you know what he is feeling when it's done so you are not confused about the outcome of the procedure.

I hope I didn't go on too long, but I wanted to share how scared we were afterwards. I also had to have my son put under at 6 1/2 months old for an MRI and that went wonderfully so I completely agree with the younger the better because he was just very sleepy afterwards, no complaints since he can't talk! Best wishes to you and your child. :) H.

This was from last year...but I guess I will go ahead and respond. My daughter has been sedated probably 8 times and she is 4 years old. The first time was for an MRI to check her puitary gland. She was 2 years old. She suffers from Precocious Puberty. During that time she was diagnosed with a large optical tumor behind her left eye. So a month later, she was sedated again (1st time using gas because they couldn't hit her vein after 3 tries...but we were at an adult hospital) and we had to do a PET Scan. They woke her up after the IV was in place and then sedated her again an hour later. 6 months later, we had another MRI done to check the growth of the tumor. A year later, another MRI. She then started showing signs of the Precocious Puberty and started spotting, this was age 4. So she was once again put to sleep for an MRI and we did a Suprelin LA implant at the time to halt the CPP. 6 months later, the implant was not working...so we did an MRI of the adrenal glands & replaced the Suprelin LA implant (once again requiring sedation). Today we had to do sedation to check the brain because last month she was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis. This can create tumors attached to the nerves in the brain....so we are checking the Pituitary, the brain, and the optical tumor for growth. So I can almost say I am an expert at child sedation!lol Each time has been different. She did better when she was younger. Today she flipped out after waking up and she cried for an hour and half. Normally she only has flipped out when she saw the IV tubing....they said it was from the medication given to her before hand to calm her down. Next time, we will stick with just the numbing cream & Propofal (spelling).

Hello K.,

Our little guy had a skin tag on his earlobe when he was born. Because of the size of it they had to surgically remove it. He was put under the anesthesic at 6 months to have this taken off. We also worried about the anesthesic part of the procedure but he came through it just fine. We always remember the bad results when we hear things on the news, etc. and it is very natural for us to worry but I think the chances of something happening are very slim. The results for him as he gets older will be far greater because they do say that kids can be cruel with teasing, etc.

Good luck to you and try not to worry, but before you know it everything will be done and he will be at home just like the day before.


Skin tags have been the bane of my life for years! The good thing is that they're easily (and quickly) removed, but since your little boy has one so close to his eye I can see why the doctor might want to be extra careful when removing it. I've also had a few that bled right after they were removed, and depending on how your son reacts to the sight of blood, it might be helpful to give him something to keep him relaxed. You're right to question the need for him to be put out completely, though. I always thought a 'local' just meant the immediate area was numbed. You could ask the doctor for more specifics about the anesthesia. Good luck!

I would think there would be something safer than going all the way under. I have 2 sister in laws that are doctors and they have always said not to go under all the way unless you MUST....life or death! When my daughter dislocated her elbow, to set it they gave her a mix of (I think) demerol and vallium. She was mostly out, didn't feel a thing when they popped it back into place and came out of it very quickly. She was 7 at the time. I would get another opinion before putting him under for a skin tag. My husband had some skin tags removed. I guess since he was a grown up they just clipped them off, no going under. That is a tough decision. It's on his face and I'm sure you want it taken off right so he doesn't have a scar. I would imagine kids can be unkind about things like that too. At the other end of all this...some skin tags just fall off on their own. Go with your gut.

I guess I would clarify what type of anesthesia is being used -- you mention "local", which would just numb the area, but then you also say "put out", which indicates general anesthesia. It might be general because the procedure is being done so close to his eye and the doctor wants to be sure your son doesn't flinch and cause inadvertent damage to the eye itself. My son had a delicate procedure done at 14 months old with general anesthesia. I was really nervous so I spoke with an out-of-state friend who is a pediatric anesthesiologist and he recommended that I confirm that the procedure was being done with an actual anesthesiologist (doctor) present OR that the doctor would be in the building in case of emergency. He said that often for minor procedures the child is barely put "under" and the person present is a nurse anesthetist -- which is fine, but confirm that he or she is board certified (not just board eligible) and that an anesthesiologist is somewhere nearby. If you aren't comfortable with the answers, then shop around for another doctor/office to perform the procedure. Hope this helps!

Hi K.,
I was right in your shoes two months ago when my son (age7) had his tonsils out. I was soooooo scared of the anesthesia. I think it is every parents worst day.
He had a general anesthesia and it went very soothly.
I went into the surgery room with him while he breathed into the mask and fell asleep in about 3 seconds.
My son is a very brave/stoic type of child. He doesn't like to have a fuss made over him. When he woke up he was a champ. He was alert, cheerful and eating a popscyle.
It will be a stressful day no doubt about it. I asked the anesthesialogist a million questions.
So while we have not had the same exact procedure done if it is the anesthisia you are worried about ours went very soomthly.
Best of Luck to you.

My daughter has a very large hemangioma on her eye. (It's a birthmark that was once so big that her eye was swelled shut.) She has undergone many surgeries (from about the ages one to three) to try to reduce the swelling, which required her to receive anesthesia. She had the procedures done at Children's Hospital of Detroit. The first time she was put under, she was moderately lethargic and vomited a little on the way home. Following that, she did remarkably well and has not vomited and even asked for chicken nuggets on the way home...Find someone you trust and it will make it a lot easier...Our biggest problem was trying to tell a toddler that she couldn't eat or drink the morning of her surgery...Good luck!

My now 5 year old has gone under 2 different times - once when he was about 15 months old and again around 4 1/2.

He doesn't react well to anesthesia at all - he wakes up VERY angry and very violent. I usually wake up from anesthesia crying, so my son's reactions make sense.

It takes a good 10-15 minutes for him to calm down - after that, he's fine. But, those minutes are VERY long.

Good luck to you.

Our daughter had the same procedure done at 7 months. Her skin tag was under her left ear. The procedure it's self only took about half an hour and she was up and ready to go about an hour or two after that. There was no complications at all. I know every person is different with anesthesia but unless he has an allergic reaction it will probable not bother him at all. All we had to do was give her some fluids and she was fine. Of course with her being so young she doesn't even remember it happening now. She does have a small scare but you don't see it unless you are looking closely.


You say a local anesthetic, not a general. That leads me to believe, if I remember correctly, that they are basically going to numb the area where they need to remove the skin tag. The anesthetic would amount to what you would get if you cut your finger and need stiches. Now, if they are talking general anesthetic that is where they put you to sleep. I had my tonsil's out when I was five (am now 32) and went through the general anesthetic just fine. My cousin has a 4 year old son who has had many surgeries and sometimes he comes out of the anesthetic a little rough (cranky, hungry, doesn't want to wake up)but within a few hours he is fine again (especially once he gets to eat).

My 15 month old daughter went under general anesthesic
when she had tubes put in her ears. She was under for 10 minutes if even that and was fine right after, she was running around the house and was not affected by it at all.
I wouldn't worry about the affects of anesthesic to much.

A local anesthesic is just applied to the area to numb it. That is what they use at the dentist office. For a skin tag there should not even be a shot involved just some gel or cream applied to the surface of the skin so that he doesn't feel the snip. The doctor usually does it himself right in the office.
When my 5 year old cut his head open and needed stitches they used one. It worked really well and he didn't feel them doing the stitches. It really is not a big deal. I hope it goes well for you guys!

My son is 3 and has been under 4 diff. times. It's never easy on me because it's just weird seeing him drugged like that. The worst part is the waiting for him to come out of it since he's so groggy. But since this is something pretty minor that your son has to have done it probably will be a little easier (my son had 4 major surgeries so he had a lot of pain and discomfort that I could do nothing about...). Plus it will be short so he won't have as much drugs in his system.
Get it done now though. He's young, will bounce back fast and probably won't remember it. It's harder on us parents than it is on the kids.

My son had his first surgery at 13 months old, second at 18 months old and third at 4 1/2 yrs old. The first time wasn't great because he was a preemie and had breathing issues to begin with. His oxygen saturation wasn't stable in recovery so they admitted us (the 24 hr short stay) for observation. He eventually bounced right back. For the second one, we remarked about his difficulties with the first one, and whatever they did differently made a huge difference- no overnight stay, immediate discharge from recovery. (I did, however, pack an overnight bag and left it in the car anyway, jsut in case. I learned from the first time that it's a good idea to be more prepared since I didn't have anything with me then!)

The third time was as routine as the second. He was older then, and more able to tolerate the surgery.

I am very suseptable to skin tags, usually on my neck. Depending on how securly they are attached, my doctor said to twist the tag until I feel a slight pinch, then secure with medical tape or the adhesive from a regular bandaid. This shuts off the blood supply to the tag, and within a day or two, it shrivels up and comes off when I remove the tape. No bleeding, no mark. I usually try to tape them up on a Friday night and by Sunday, it's gone.

Not saying this is a solution for you since I'm NOT a doctor, but within the past 20 years or so, I've not had a single problem.

Another idea - I have a friend that does laser hair removal and varicose vain treatments, as well as microderm abrasion and chemical facials. She has a "cool touch" instrument that will just cauterize the blood supply to the tag - feels like the snap of a rubberband, and the tag shrivels up and is gone. May want to find a skin treatment place to research before you commit to the whole surgical procedure.

(Here's the info from her website:
Vascutouch Treatments- The Vascutouch system utilizes radiofrequency waves and DC current to coagulate and eliminate common vascular blemishes such as spider veins (telactectangia). The system is effective a removing skin tags and can also be used to treat brown spots, milia and other common blemishes. Some treatments may require more than one visit. Vascutouch is most effective for treating spider veins on the face, with less success occuring on the legs, especially the lower legs.) I believe she charges $40 - $50 for skin tag removal.

I grew up with a lot of skin tags on my neck, back and arms. I had a lot of them removed when I was in school because they looked so strange, so I understand why you want to have his removed-- especially around his face. If it is going to be a local anesthetic, then it would either be a numbing agent rubbed onto the skin or a small injection like novocaine when you go to the dentist for a filling. Either way, it shouldn't be any more difficult than him getting a quick flu shot. And I can tell you that it does hurt to get the tags removed without the anesthetic, so the numbing is the way to go. Don't stress out over it while he's around and he won't see it as any big deal. Best of luck!

My son was put under for stiches to his face from a dog bite when he was around 2 he was only under about 15 min just long enough for them to get the stiches in safely I was worried but since it was in the ER I was with him the entire time and was able to see the all the Moniters and such. It sounds like what yor son would need done would take about the same time and I wouldn't worry too much. I guess there is always a risk with everything but from what I have heard the longer you are under andthe more invasive the procedure the higher the risk. Best of luck!

I would have it removed now while he is younger, skin tags to grow bigger in size over time. If it is unsightly and will only get bigger I would have it removed. They had to put my son out when he was four to have tubes put in his ears and it really was no big deal. We worried about it for so long before having it done. And it actually was a very minor procedure. My Mother has had skin tags removed and it was a very minor procedure.

My son, now 3 and a half, has been "put under" twice. Once at six months and once at two and a half for different procedures (neither skin tags but should not make a huge difference). Both times were really fast, we meet with all the docs and I was a total wreck but he was 100% back to normal within 4 hours. Can't help with the rest of it, but wanted to affirm that others with little kids have had good, granted scary, experiences with general.

My daughter underwent surgery with anesthesia at age 3 to have a birthmark removed from her leg. It did not affect her one bit, she was fine and still is. She doesn't even remember it. The surgery was a success :)

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