Improvements in anesthetic drugs and monitoring techniques over the past several decades have significantly reduced the anesthetic risks for pediatric patients. Neonates and infants are at increased risk for cardiovascular and pulmonary complications, and recent reports have led to concern that these young patients may be at risk for long-term detrimental neurodevelopmental effects as well. Although studies are currently under way to answer the question of anesthetic neurotoxicity in children, surgeons and anesthesiologists must work with parents to determine the best course of action for these vulnerable patients.

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