Generally, anesthesia is given to induce unconsciousness through the whole surgical procedure. The major concern that most parents have is that whether anesthesia is safe or not? It can be discomforting for every parent to watch their child lying unconscious during the surgery but watching him experiencing excruciating pain would be even more painful. Anesthesia helps in diminishing the sensation and children can smoothly get through the surgical procedure.
A study in Columbia University Medical Center has proved that when given a significant amount, anesthesia is completely safe for healthy toddlers. The length of exposure to anesthesia plays a vital role. If the child is exposed to general anesthesia for a long period of time then it can create health complications in the long run. No matter how young or old a person is, a higher percentage of anesthesia can damage the vital organs of the body.
Many people were in dilemma whether the dosage of anesthesia can affect the developing brains of the toddlers. And, it has been found that animals that were repeatedly exposed to anesthesia may have some neurological problems in the long run.
Toddlers do not behave in the same way the adults behave after the dosage of anesthesia. The effect largely depends on the child’s weight, health history, level of development etc. After considering all these factors, the pediatric anesthesiologist will give the dosage to the child. Then he will monitor the working of all the vital organs of the child, such as his heartbeat, and his blood pressure etc.
Due to the development of pediatric anesthesia, it has now become completely safe for surgical treatments of young children. Over the past 2 decades, scientists have been testing the impact of anesthesia on the brain development of animals, and they have found out that long session of anesthesia has a hazardous impact on the body and the brain of those animals.
Under the age of 3 is considered a period of brain development in humans so it was essential for the researchers to ensure that dosage of anesthesia does not hamper children’s brain development.
The parents should ask about all the concerns to their pediatric specialist before the surgical procedure. As the impact of anesthesia decreases with the age so the parents should consider whether it’s an emergency situation or the surgery can be done after he turns 4-5 years of age. The doctors should ensure that the child is not suffering from any underlying medical condition as then it can create further complications.
To sum this up, we can say that the minimal exposure to anesthesia doesn’t have any ill-impacts on the toddler’s health. And, the anesthesiologist needs to tailor-made the dosage of anesthesia according to child’s age, weight, and level of development.