Surgical Procedure? When You Can, Wait.

Monday, November 7th, 2011 by from Baby Steps

surgical scissors

We want nothing more than our munchkins to be healthy. Healthy often equals happy.

What happens when a surgical procedure is recommended? Or is needed?

We trust in our pediatricians and other medical professionals to help guide us in making the best decisions when it comes to caring for our munchkins. However, would there ever be a time or a reason for you to consider postponing a surgical procedure until your wee one is a bit bigger?

Hot off the press is a study that caught my attention about the use of anesthesia before two years of age. Published in the November 2011 issue of Pediactrics, is a summary of a comprehensive study that spanned 6 years and included more than 5,000 children. This study concluded that a link between surgical procedures and the use of anesthesia for children under the age of 2 years could not rule out the possibility that a child’s brain development may be impacted:

Among 5,357 children in the cohort, 350 underwent procedures with general anesthesia before age 2. Despite controlling for co-morbidity, a learning disability developed in 36.6 percent of those with multiple exposures to general anesthesia and 23.6 percent of those with a single exposure. Among the unexposed controls, 21.3 percent developed a learning disability. Exposure to anesthesia also appeared to affect the rate of children receiving an individualized education program for difficulties with speech and language, but had no effect on the need for individualized assistance for problems of behavior. Study authors conclude that they cannot rule out the possibility that multiple exposures to anesthesia and surgery may adversely affect neurodevelopment.

Of course, sometimes there is no choice. Sometimes, you cannot wait. It’s at these times, you find peace in knowing you are doing your best for your child.

What do you think?

Will learning about this recent study impact your consideration of having (or not having) a surgical procedure done on your infant or child?

Why or why not?

What do you think? Surgical Procedure? When You Can, Wait.

Jeannie Fleming-GiffordAuthor

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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