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Anesthesia May Harm Children's Brains

Study: Anesthesia Before Age 3 Linked to Later Mental Problems

Advice to Parents continued...

If the procedure is a minor one, parents should work with their child's doctor to see if it can be delayed.

"If it is tubes or tonsils and it can be put off until after age 3, then it should be put off," Roizen says.

Flick says some procedures, such as hernia repairs, can be done with regional anesthesia, which numbs part of the body, as opposed to general anesthesia. There's no evidence suggesting one approach is better than the other.

It's also a good idea to meet with your child's anesthesiologist to ask what drugs may be used. In general, Flick says, "Single, brief anesthetics typically do not cause a problem."

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