Recently, there has been significant focus on the effects of anesthesia on the developing brain. Concern is heightened in children <3 years of age requiring lengthy and/or multiple anesthetics. Hypospadias correction is common in otherwise healthy children and may require both lengthy and repeated anesthetics. At academic centers, many of these cases are performed with the assistance of anesthesia and surgical trainees. We sought to identify both the incidence of these children undergoing additional anesthetics before age 3 as well as to understand the effect of trainees on duration of surgery and anesthesia and thus anesthetic exposure (AE), specifically focusing on those cases >3 hours.
We analyzed all cases of hypospadias repair from December 2011 through December 2018 at Texas Children’s Hospital. In all, 1326 patients undergoing isolated hypospadias repair were analyzed for anesthesia time, surgical time, provider types involved, AE, caudal block, and additional AE related/unrelated to hypospadias.
For the primary aim, a total of 1573 anesthetics were performed in children <3 years of age, including 1241 hypospadias repairs of which 1104 (89%) were completed with <3 hours of AE. For patients with <3 hours of AE, 86.1% had a single surgical intervention for hypospadias. Of patients <3 years of age, 17.3% required additional nonrelated surgeries. There was no difference in anesthesia time in cases performed solely by anesthesia attendings versus those performed with trainees/assistance (16.8 vs 16.8 minutes; P = .98). With regard to surgery, cases performed with surgical trainees were of longer duration than those performed solely by surgical attendings (83.5 vs 98.3 minutes; P < .001). Performance of surgery solely by attending surgeon resulted in a reduced total AE in minimal alveolar concentration (MAC) hours when compared to procedures done with trainees (1.92 vs 2.18; P < .001). Finally, comparison of patients undergoing initial correction of hypospadias with subsequent revisions revealed a longer time (117.7 vs 132.2 minutes; P < .001) and AE during the primary stage.
The majority of children with hypospadias were repaired within a single AE. In general, most children did not require repeated AE before age 3. While presence of nonattending surgeons was associated with an increase in AE, this might at least partially be due to differences in case complexity. Moreover, the increase is likely not clinically significant. While it is critical to maintain a training environment, attempts to minimize AE are crucial. This information facilitates parental consent, particularly with regard to anesthesia duration and the need for additional anesthetics in hypospadias and nonhypospadias surgeries.