There are many things parents worry about when they're told their child needs surgery. Anesthesia is one of those things.
Researchers in New York and Australia wanted to know whether anesthesia exposure posed any cognitive risks to young children. Their study, recently published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at more than 2,600 children where 321 in the group had had anesthesia before the age of three.
At age 10, neuro-psychological tests were done to see if those children who were exposed to anesthesia had any differences in language, cognitive function, motor skills or behaviors as compared to the kids who had not had anesthesia.
The results found that even a single exposure was associated with an increased risk for long-term deficits in receptive and expressive language, as well as abstract reasoning. No differences were noted in behavior or motor functions.
While delaying needed surgery is not advised, talk over any concerns you have about anesthesia with your physician.