More hospitals evaluate spinal anesthesia for surgeries that last 1½ hours or less
Lisa and Mike Barr chose to have their infant, Mira, undergo spinal anesthesia during surgery, a new approach to anesthesia that leaves infants awake and pain free with fewer complications. WSJ’s Laura Landro and pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Robert Williams discuss the procedure. Photo: The Barr Family
For millions of infants and toddlers who get surgery every year, mounting concern about the risk of general anesthesia is leading more hospitals to consider an alternative: spinal anesthesia which leaves babies awake, immobilized and pain-free.
The spinal approach has been shown to have fewer breathing complications, quicker recoveries, and faster feeding, which enables families to take babies home sooner. It is used primarily for surgeries that last an hour and a half or less, and take place generally in the abdominal area and lower extremities.